Help Afghan Boys Trade Guns for Books

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Boys in a computer class
Boys in a computer class

Starting at Noon EST today you can double your donation to the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)!! GlobalGiving and Microsoft YouthSpark are offering $200,000 in matching funds, but the funds will go fast! The last time they offered a 100% match funds ran out in just 15 minutes.

If you’d like to help AIL, please visit our project page right at Noon EST.

Your donation will help young men like Ahmad. Ahmad has been attending classes at an AIL Learning center for one year and says, “AIL has changed my life in positive ways. I started to study English and computers here one year ago. Before starting classes I didn’t even know how to turn a computer on. Now I’ve learned to use seven different programs on the computer and I’ve learned to speak English. After I graduated from the course I took the employment exam for a trading company in town. I got the job! My salary is excellent and I can help support my family. After seeing what I was able to do, my cousin has decided to take the AIL classes also. I owe all of my successes to AIL.”

We thank you for supporting AIL’s efforts to educate young Afghans, and hope that you will support us again today at noon!!

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



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!


Boys in the Program Receiving Clothing
Boys in the Program Receiving Clothing

In Monday’s report we told you about AIL supporting a program which is giving schooling and health care to boys who were begging on the street to support their families. In the beginning, students were wary, but now they look forward to coming to classes. There are currently two literacy classes; one has moved on to reading and writing and the other is working to teach the students to recognize numbers and letters.

AIL held a promotion ceremony for the boys in the first literacy class to celebrate them moving to a higher level of literacy classes. Families of the boys were invited to come and share in the celebration. At this celebration, one of the parents said, “AIL is blessing our children with a new life. They will be changed after these classes. I am so thankful to AIL. 

Bonus Day Today!!!

Today beginning at NOON EST, all donations to this project will receive a 50% match as part of the Microsoft Youth Spark program, 

If you’re up for the challenge, be on the site to give right at NOON EST!

The last time this challenge was offered, funds ran out in just 15 minutes, so log on early to help AIL take advantage of matching funds!

Children Receiving Clothing  Credit: A. Everett
Children Receiving Clothing Credit: A. Everett

AIL recently began supporting a program that is giving schooling and housing to boys who were begging on the street to help support their families. For many of the younger boys, this is the first time they’ve ever had books to care for, so in February, AIL staff concentrated on teaching them to care for the books properly. First, the boys needed to learn that they should keep the book, and be sure not to lose it. Then they were taught to keep the book clean. Once the boys had learned these lessons, they were given more books to use and care for. 

The older students completed an activity where they were asked to work in groups to write messages that would teach the younger students about peace. They were then asked to read their messages in front of a group of teachers and students. The assignment motivated the older students to research the subject before presenting it to their classmates.

Youth Spark Bonus Day Challenge Tomorrow!!

On Wednesday, Microsoft will be offering a 50% match to all donations made to this project! If you’re up for the challenge, be ready to give right at Noon as funds tend to run out very quickly. (Last time they were gone in only 15 minutes!)

Donations from $10-1000 will be eligible for the 50% match. As an added bonus – recurring donations will be matched at 100%!! We hope that you will take advantage of this awesome opportunity!

Boys in an AIL Learning Center
Boys in an AIL Learning Center

Hi everyone! AIL had a successful 2013, bringing education to nearly 20,000 students, over 6,300 of which were boys. We could not have done this without your support. Afghan boys took classes in literacy, English, Arabic, and computers, all necessary skills to get good paying jobs to support their families. Boys who attend AIL learning centers are not only educated in academics, they are taught that both men and women can be productive members of society and that violence is never the answer to problems.

Afghan boys are not unlike Afghan girls when it comes to attending school and scheduling conflicts. Often times, boys and young men are not allowed to go to school because they have to help their parents to earn a living for the family. It is most often the poorest who are the least educated. Your support has allowed us to expand our programs to create classes especially for poor students who have scheduling conflicts. Boys like Husain would not be able to go to school under normal circumstances, but thanks to you and the efforts of AIL, he is able to take classes. He had this to say:

“My name is Husain. My father owns a stand near our house, selling fruits. I work with my father at the stand. My family is poor and that is why my father doesn’t let me go to school because I have to stay there and sell fruits. About five months ago I heard about AIL center near our house, so I asked my father to let me attend literacy class just one hour daily. Finally father agreed to let me attend, but I needed to be back to the stand after class. It has been five months since I started the class. I am now able to read, write, and count. My father is very happy because I can help him. Whenever my father goes to market, I sell the fruits. It is difficult for me but I have to stay at the stand. I am very interested in education because I want to promote like other students and make a good future for me. I thank AIL for helping me.”

Again, we’d like to thank you so much for your support of our Boys’ Education program. This program would not be possible without donors like you. We hope that you find this partnership worthwhile, so many boys and girls are bettering their lives by taking these classes. Thank you!!


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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Sakena Yacoobi
Dearborn, Michigan United States

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