Nov 9, 2020

Thank you!

Dear Friend of Sahar, 

Thank you for being part of Sahar Education’s work! We know that this is not an easy time and we are exceptionally grateful for your support. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on this last year of school for many students around the world, including Afghanistan. With schools closed from March to August in response to the pandemic, we worked with our team to switch to a virtual method of instruction for our Men as Partners in Change (MPC) Program. Through WhatsApp, we shared video-recorded lessons, engaged with students, and disseminated public health information during Afghanistan’s lockdown. 

Yasir is one student who graduated from MPC’s remote course. He says that his biggest concern during the lockdown was not being able to go to school, feeling depressed, and being separated from his friends. By taking MPC via Whatsapp, Yasir was able to keep learning and engaged with program instructors and other students. “I learned my rights and, at the same time, women's rights. I understood that human rights are not restricted to men but for all human beings. The last session, which was about community engagement, motivated me to do community service and join a non-profit organization as a volunteer to take part in the development of my community,” he says.

As schools reopened in late August, we began working in two new schools in and around Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan: Khalid Bin Walid High School and Hazrat Nouman High School. With over 3,000 boys studying at the school, we’re looking forward to engaging with these new communities. We’re particularly excited about working with these new schools because their students represent Afghanistan’s many ethnic identities including Pashtun, Hazara, Tajik, and Uzbek. In this sense, our classrooms will not only be a space where boys learn to become better gender allies, but also a safe place to interact with diversity. 

As we look forward, we will continue our transformative gender work in-person. To ensure the safety of our students and teachers, we are providing face masks, hand sanitizer, and requiring temperature checks before students can enter our classrooms. In light of COVID-19, we see promoting gender equality and girls’ education as all the more important. By helping boys rethink gender stereotypes and the role of girls and women in Afghan society, we are promoting a bright future for all Afghans. 

On behalf of the whole Sahar team, thank you for your support. We could not accompany boys on their journeys to gender allyship without you.

Gratefully, 

Ginna

Sep 24, 2020

Thanks for your support!

Sahar Early Marriage Prevention Student
Sahar Early Marriage Prevention Student

Dear Friend of Sahar,

Thank you for being a part of Sahar Education’s work! We know that this is not an easy time and we are exceptionally grateful for your support.

As you know, life for Afghan girls was difficult before the onset of COVID-19. In March, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education closed all educational institutions, which means our in-person programs were temporarily suspended. As things begin to reopen in Afghanistan and we look towards the future, we see addressing gender inequality as fundamental to recovering from the pandemic. In Afghanistan, there is a high likelihood that many girls will not return to school after missing almost half of the academic year. There are also growing concerns that girls are at a higher risk of early marraige due to their families’ financial struggles. 

With so many girls at risk of early marriage, we are happy to report that our Early Marriage Prevention Program continued during the school closures. In fact, 50 students received their EMPP training entirely remotely thanks to the fantastic work of our team on the ground. These 50 girls join close to 1,340 other young Afghan girls who have already graduated from the program. With schools reopened, we are also excited to announce that we will begin implementing EMPP in two new high schools in and around Mazar-e-Sharif. Of course, the healthy and safety of our students and teacher remains a priority as we return to the classroom.

The challenges Afghan girls face in light of the pandemic make continuing our gender-responsive work all the more important. COVID-19 has and continues to deepen existing gender inequalities and, as an organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for girls, we must work to ensure that the future looks bright for Afghan girls despite the pandemic. Together, we will continue:

  • educating over 23,000 girls in Sahar-built schools each year
  • teaching digital literacy to over 4,000 girls in our computer centers 
  • training teachers as part of our Teacher Training Center (from which 160 women have already graduated)
  • building a boarding school for 265 rural girls to continue their education
  • accompanying men and boys in becoming gender allies

Addressing gender inequality in Afghanistan is the mission of our work. Over and over again we are struck by the resilience of Afghan women and girls and the power they can have as change makers in their families, communities, and the country as a whole. By promoting the right of girls to receive an education (even and especially within a pandemic), we are promoting the development of a peaceful and resilient Afghanistan. 

On behalf of the whole Sahar team, thank you for your support. We could not fight for girls’ education in Afghanistan without you, especially not now.

Gratefully,

Ginna

Links:

Sep 24, 2020

Thanks for your support!

Women learning at the TTC!
Women learning at the TTC!

Dear Friend of Sahar,

Thank you for supporting the Dawlat-Abad Teacher Training Center (TTC). As you know, the TCC is the only center of its kind in the areas that we work that provides female high school graduates with career training. The women who have graduated from the TCC have gone on to become local school teachers, opened schools for adult learners, and helped girls who are out of school get back in the classroom. In this sense, TTC does much more than train women to become teachers, it empowers women to empower others.

Unfortunately, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education closed all educational institutions, including the TTC in March in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. While we were unable to continue our work in the classroom, we continued to support the Afghan communities we have served for nearly 20 years. As I mentioned in my last update, we supplied families with food, masks, and hand soap. These necessities are essential for families in and around Mazar-e-Sharif, especially those who are unemployed because of the pandemic. In late August, schools reopened with limited in-person classes. We are also happy to announce that the TCC recently reopened!  

We are happy for our students’ return to the classroom but are also prioritizing the need to keep everyone safe from the virus. In response, we are working to make sure that our students and teachers have the resources they need to learn and teach in a COVID-19 compliant way. We look forward to keeping you updated as the next generation of Afghanistan’s teachers get back to learning.

Until then, on behalf of Sahar, thank you for your continued contributions. Your support of work  is so important, especially during this time, and we could not be more grateful. 

Best regards, 

Ginna

 
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