Help Afghan Boys Trade Guns for Books

by Afghan Institute of Learning
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!!

Young Boys in Class
Young Boys in Class

All of us at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) want to thank you for your support this year and wish you and your families a very happy holiday season! It is your support that has helped AIL educate so many boys this year—boys like Ahmad who just signed up for an English class and wrote:

 "I was not sure if I could learn English before coming to this center, but the teacher used new methods of teaching that interested me and encouraged all students believe in their abilities. I work part time in a magazine, checking emails and translating English stories to Dari. I am going to study English until I get an AB degree. These English classes have changed my life.”

Now there is an amazing opportunity to help educate even more boys like Ahmad. Today, beginning at noon EST (9am PST), all donations to this project will be matched by Microsoft as part of #GivingTuesday! There are $250,000 in matching funds available, and matching will only last while the funds do, so if you plan to give, please do so early in the day! This is a wonderful chance to double your donation, so please help us take advantage of this opportunity.

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

Young Students in Class
Young Students in Class


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!

Boys in a computer class
Boys in a computer class

All of us at Creating Hope International (CHI) and the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) would like to thank our donors’ support for the ‘Help Afghan Boys Trade Guns for Books’ project. Our Learning Centers educate all who come through the door, and although a majority of those educated are women, about 30% of the beneficiaries of our programs are young men and boys. Afghanistan is dominated on most if not all levels of government by men. By educating boys in the same centers as girls we aim to close this stark division and create a more equal Afghanistan for both males and females.

Boys are taking courses in many areas, increasing their skills and creating opportunity where there was none before. Boys are learning how to read alongside girls, and are learning valuable skills in a number of topics like computer technology and English. All of these skills are necessary for finding worthwhile work opportunities that can help them and their families. Education is the way to stop violence and ignorance, and it is the only way to live in peace and improve their communities.

An informational workshop was held in May on the topic of “Justice and Fairness”. 50 boys and girls participated side by side and were given the opportunity to hear each other out. One participant in the workshop reviewed their thoughts after the workshop:

This terrible war, the killing, terrors; all are the result of not properly implementing justice. I believe that by implementing justice, injustice will be eradicated from society and peace will come to our country. We hope that someday a righteous person will become the governor and implement justice. I have decided to do anything in order to promote justice in our society. We thank AIL and want them to have more workshops like this in order to give us a solution.”

Afghan boys have a chance to better their society for the future, and they will accomplish this by working with Afghan girls. AIL is bringing the change that Afghans are hungry for, but it will be the Afghan people themselves that will change their society. We want to thank you all for your support of Afghan boys; you are all making a huge difference in the lives of so many!

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi receives her hood at Princeton
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi receives her hood at Princeton

So many wonderful things have happened for the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) in the last few weeks, and we’re very excited to share a few of them with you. 

First, on Tuesday the Executive Director of AIL, Sakena Yacoobi received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Princeton University. The official citation reads: 

With a profound reverence for the well-being of others, this visionary leader devotes her life to the empowerment of poor Afghan women and children. With an unwavering commitment to social justice, against all odds, and often at great personal risk, she built and sustains an institute that makes healthcare and education possible for the most vulnerable. It owes its success in establishing clinics, teaching children, and training educators and caregivers to the deep and lasting ties she has forged with the people she serves and with global communities of care. After decades of work, she is still creating hope, in her home country and throughout the world. 

Additionally, AIL has had two articles posted at The Huffington Post. The first focuses on AIL’s belief that Education Is the Way to a Healthier Country

The second article details AIL’s Mobile Literacy Program, giving details of how adding texting to a traditional literacy curriculum helped to accelerate the pace of learning. 

Finally, tomorrow is a Global Giving Matching Day, and because AIL is a superstar partner, all donations will be matched at 50%! Matching will begin at 9:00 am EST and funds generally run out after just a few hours.To select a project that you might like to donate to, visit AIL’s page on GlobalGiving



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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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