Fast-Tracking Education for Afghan Women and Girls

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Vetted
Stills from the Music Video
Stills from the Music Video

Let’s put our hands together, let’s get together.

Our hands hold our votes and our votes hold our future.

 

My fellow citizen It’s my vote, it’s your vote

It’s a privilege for enduring peace

My dear fellow citizen, with our vote leadership is in our hands.

             On April 5th, an historic election was held in Afghanistan. Over 7 million voters participated, and the elections were generally a peaceful affair. We at AIL hosted election workshops leading up to the vote, and asked the managers of our Learning Centers to educate students at the centers about why the vote was important, what steps they needed to take in order to vote, how to research and select candidates, and how to vote.

            The effort to encourage Afghans to vote was not limited to our workshops and Learning Centers however. At a private school owned by Dr. Sakena Yacoobi (our CEO) the Arts and Culture Teacher, Mehrjui, set a poem she had written about the election to music. The song encourages all Afghans to become aware of their responsibilities, to select a good candidate for President and to vote. The PSYPS Arts and Culture students sang this song at a celebration on International Women’s Day as well as at our election workshops. The song was incredibly well received, moving many in the audience.

            The students, staff, and administration at the school quickly realized how powerful their song was, so with the help of the AIL Academic Advisor and the AIL video production team, they set about recording their song so that it could be shared with a wider audience. They had no idea how popular the song was about to become.

            The song quickly went viral, being aired on Afghanistan’s National TV station, as well as on eleven other stations. The song has been played many times over and candidates running for president even asked if they could buy the song to use in their campaign. The PSYPS students and staff declined to sell the song, deciding the purpose of the song was to encourage all Afghans to participate in the elections, not to support just one candidate.

             As Afghanistan moves closer to a runoff election this summer, the song continues to be played on the radio and the video over the airwaves. In short, the song continues to encourage Afghans to participate in the upcoming elections and to make sure their voices are heard.

             We encourage you to take a moment to view the video made by the students, to read the lyrics below and to see the hope in these young people’s faces. After watching, we hope that you will stand with the youth of Afghanistan, and join us as we work with them to create a peaceful future for their nation. 

(Chorus Song)

Let’s put our hands together, let’s get together.

Our hands hold our votes and our votes hold our future.

 

With one vote, we can be our sultan, our voice

For a better choice for a better leader

 

My fellow citizen It’s my vote, it’s your vote

It’s a privilege for enduring peace

My dear fellow citizen, with our vote leadership is in our hand

 

My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!

With the name of God, we speak from the power of our thoughts

From our decision, unity, humanity and right

No longer speak of suicide bombing, explosion, but of creativity and pride

Don’t speak of the hills under the thorn

Speak of the friendship of verdant soil and the rose garden

Speak of spring, spring and spring

 

(Narration)

Let’s hope that this spring Afghanistan will turn into a magnificent garden. A garden in which the smell of every rose invites the world for a spectacle.

Let’s hope for a different spring, for a different year and for a different Afghanistan

Don’t forget my fellow citizen, our rendezvous is in front of ballot boxes on April 5, 2014

 

(Chorus Song)

Our choice is the remedy

Our choice is for the day of rendezvous

Who we want will be crowned sultan

 

My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!

 

Attend the opportunity with passion and turn the enemies into wretches

This colored finger is the guiding path and this fist is the hummer for the oppressor

 

My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!

Links:

Preparing for a Mobile Literacy Class
Preparing for a Mobile Literacy Class

Hi everyone! First of all we would like to thank you for your generous support of AIL’s Fast-Tracking program. Thanks to your donations, over 300 girls took part in our new mobile literacy classes since September. Many thousands more have recently begun taking literacy classes in AIL flex-time classes (where they can learn at their own pace) and accelerated classes where students can learn to read in a faster-paced environment than offered in traditional school settings. Fast-track classes are offered in all subjects, allowing students to learn however fast they want so as to accommodate to busy schedules and the pace they can effectively learn, all while maintaining the same high-quality instruction as other more traditional classes.

Fariba is a 30-year old mother. She could not go to school as a child because she was a refugee during the war. She enrolled in one of AIL’s mobile literacy courses and is close to graduating from the class. She had this to say about the fast-tracking education program:

“I am very happy about my participation in this class. My classmates and I benefit from the countless advantages of the class. The majority of the students were uneducated at the beginning of the class, including me, but now we have become literate. We didn’t know the letters of the alphabet. Now that we are finishing the class, we can see a lot of changes in ourselves. I can read books and magazines now when I couldn’t a few months ago. I write some topics now, when before the class I couldn’t even write the alphabet’s letters. I know all of us are improving day by day. This is an excellent class.”

We would like to thank you so much for your support of the Fast-Tracking Education program. Without supporters like you, we couldn’t have accomplished what we have or what we plan to do in the future. Thank you!!

Mobile Literacy Class
Mobile Literacy Class

All of us at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) want you thank you for your support this year and wish you and your families a very happy holiday season!

AIL offers a range of classes with flexible schedules for Afghans, accommodating complicated schedules and situations so that we can reach whoever wants to take classes at our learning centers. Our Fast-Tracking program offers a fast-paced learning environment for students who want to learn the same material in a shorter timeframe than what our normal curriculum offers. One such class is our mobile literacy course, where students gain literacy using cell phones. Fawzia told us about her experience in one of our new mobile literacy courses:

"When I heard about mobile literacy class I thought it is only for fun, but soon I learned that this class is not only for fun, but for fast and efficient learning of knowledge, too. I found out that learning through mobile cell is very effective and interesting. I am going to continue this class until I graduate."

We thank you all for your generous support! Please take some time to check out our annual newsletter attached to this report. 


Attachments:

Dear GlobalGiving Donors,

Thank you so much for supporting the Afghan Institute of Learning’s (AIL) various projects on GlobalGiving. Over the years, the Global Giving donors have become invaluable to AIL. Through your generous support, AIL has been able to provide Afghans with education, health care, training and more.

It is your continued support that is now allowing AIL to evolve along with the young people of Afghanistan. We’d like to share with you the story of how one young woman’s life has been changed thanks to one of AIL’s programs:

I am a 19-year-old woman with two children. I had always wanted to go to school and learn to read, but there was not a school close to my home. It was not safe for me to try and travel to another village to go to school, but I always told myself that if I could go to school, I would be able to get a job and reach my goals.

It was painful to me when my brother learned to read and write, but I couldn’t. One day I watched some women and children who were going somewhere. When I saw that one of them was a woman who had an 8-year-old girl with her, I stopped her and said “Excuse me. Where are you going?” She answered, “A learning center has been established for illiterate women and their children recently. I am going to register myself and my children.”

When I heard this, I was so happy and I said to her, “Please wait a minute. I want to go with you and start to take classes too.” I joined them on their way to the learning center. When we arrived, I was so excited because I saw a lot of women there who had been learning.

Now, I can read and write and I can say proudly that I am literate. I have also learned to be healthy and to be a leader. I am reaching out and touching my wishes and goals. I thank AIL for this opportunity to reach my goals.

Thank you for the support that you give to AIL. We are so grateful to all of our supporters for their continued support of our projects on GlobalGiving. Thank you!

Fast Track Class
Fast Track Class

All of us at Creating Hope International (CHI) and the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) would like to thank our donors for their support of our “Fast-Tracking” program. Since January, we have educated almost 15,000 women and girls in a variety of subjects, including literacy, tailoring, and computers. The “Fast-Tracking” program allows women to receive education at a different speed than traditional  school classes, which are more geared toward educating students at a steady pace. The program allows for a flexible schedule, where students can get educated in a subject in a matter of months or at their own pace if their schedule does not permit them to go to class every day.

From January to July this year, AIL has taught literacy courses to over 3,700 students, 2,300 of which were women and girls. Many of our 200+ literacy classes are part of the fast-tracking program, and are a big reason why we are able to reach so many. AIL has also started offering classes in ‘mobile literacy’, that is, teaching literacy through texting with cell phones. This method has proved to be very fast and efficient in literacy education. A student can enter a mobile literacy course illiterate and leave reading and writing at a 3rd grade level in as little as 5 months.

One girl who attended one of our centers, Nafas, took a fast-tracking course in literacy:

I am a 19 year old girl and I have two children. I hoped one day to go to school and become literate, but because there was no school and the unsafe situation in our area I couldn’t go to school and learn. I told myself that if I could go to school, I would get a job and reach my goals.

It was painful for me when my brother was able to read and write, but I couldn’t. One day I saw some women with their children who were going somewhere, I asked, "Excuse me, where are you going?” She answered, “A learning center has been opened for illiterate women and their children recently. I want to go to register myself and my children." When I heard it, I was so happy and I said to her, “Please wait a minute I should go with you and start literacy class, too.” I soon took my veil and joined them to go to the learning center. When we arrived, I was excited because I saw a lot of women there who had been learning. Right now I can write, read and I can say proudly that I am literate, and I am reaching my wishes and goals. 

Nafas’ story is one of many similar stories. Women with children want to get educated, but cannot do it the conventional way. AIL is reaching thousands of women and children from all backgrounds. The Fast-Tracking program is just one of many programs helping to bring education, health, and equality to Afghanistan. Again, we want to thank our donors for helping so many people, all of us greatly appreciate it!

 

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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.afghaninstituteoflearning.org
Project Leader:
Sakena Yacoobi
Dearborn, Michigan United States
$263,803 raised of $295,000 goal
 
3,851 donations
$31,197 to go
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