"I thank you so very much for seeing that our girls education system needs computers. Thanks to your help, we will begin bringing laptop computers to our girls in June. I've dreamed about this and so have the girls. Everyone sees the importance of computers but none of these girls was able to purchase one. I can only imagine the day when they will sit down to their computers and learn another kind of literacy. These girls need jobs and they will have a better chance with computer skills. My vision is to bring computers to every girl in my schools," Ms. Afghani, principal of Sultan Razia
Your dollars have funded a new laptop computer for girls in our newest computer center in northern Afghanistan. With your help, we were able to accomplish our goal of providing one of our new computer centers in Balkh Province with another laptop, serving girls who will soon complete their secondary education and who are in dire need of computer skills. We also chose girls in grade 5 and 6 to begin their computer education as studies have indicated that at these ages, girls (whether in the US or in Afghanistan) are impacted in math, science and technology. Our program introduces the girls to the basics of technology.
Each computer we fund will be allocated to the center that most needs it.
The Power of A Technical Education
One computer can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of girls by improving their opportunities for higher education and employment. We have observed that training girls in fundamental computers skills increases the likelihood that they will stay in school longer and eventually graduate, effectively delaying their marriages and fostering their independence. And if they do marry, we've also observed that their husbands and fathers want them to continue their computer studies because the future rests in technology especially in the urban environment of Mazar-i-Sharif where two of our centers are located.
Tayeba, a 9th grade student said: “I am very excited to go to a new school with a modern library and computer laboratory room. I always wished to have a beautiful class in the school. I have seen students in the films that went to modern schools with computers. I hope our class will be like this next year." Tayeba wants to be a doctor in the future just as her own father is to serve the people of Afghanistan.
Why Literacy Includes Computers
Furthermore, if a girl is proficient in applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and if she is able to navigate the Internet, then she will be better prepared to enter the workforce or continue on to some form of higher education. Since the implementation of our computer literacy program in 2008, yearly enrollment rates have increased significantly, from approximately 1,000 students to 14,000 in 2015 year-to-date. This is the power of a single computer for girls in Afghanistan as they join a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected and where information is easily accessible. A computer will allow these girls to learn about international events and will promote cross-cultural understanding and respect.
A Long-Lasting Impact
Your impact on these girls’ technical education will endure, as one computer will impact approximately 100 girls enrolled in the course every year at the center. The computer will be available for girls and teachers to operate for years to come.
“Only 20 percent of Afghanistan is electrified; it’s only 20 percent illiterate,” says Paul Brinkley, the former United States deputy undersecretary of defense. “But 60 percent have a cellphone. What does this tell you about the Afghan people? They’re starving for information. You need that more to stabilize this country than all the security things you could do.”
Thank you again for supporting our innovative strategy of providing girls in northern Afghanistan with vocational skills while broadening their worldviews with computers. Your dollars will shape the lives of hundreds of Afghan girls who dream of advancing their skills to become more productive and involved in the political, economic, and social life of their country.