COVID-19 Response: Help Afghan Girls and Families

by Sahar Education
COVID-19 Response: Help Afghan Girls and Families

Dear Friend of Sahar,

 

Thank you for your on-going support of Sahar Education. Your generous contributions were especially important as we juggled the crisis with an on-going challenges of COVID-19.

 

In the months of July and August, schools were closed due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Schools reopened briefly for a short exam period. Since the Taliban takeover and due to the recent increase in security concerns across Afghanistan, we have made the difficult decision to halt  program operations and the construction of our boarding school indefinitely. We have continued to support our Afghan staff during this time. The safety of our staff is our priority.

 

We are actively developing plans to resume operations adjusting to the new reality, including assessing the feasibility of working on projects with partners in Afghanistan, prioritizing local organizations and grassroot initiatives.

 

Sahar believes in the future of Afghanistan and its people and we must support them now in every way possible. We have taken down our social media accounts to protect the women and girls we have served. Please visit our website and view our list of resources to learn how you can help.

 

Thank you for standing with us in support of Afghanistan and girls education.

 

Warmly,

Malahat 

Sahar, Executive Director

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Dear Friend of Sahar,

Thank you for your on-going support of Sahar Education. Your generous contributions are especially important as we continue to work with Afghan communities to respond to the on-going challenges of COVID-19.

In the months of July and August, schools were closed due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Schools reopened briefly for a short exam period. At this time, due to the recent increase in security concerns across Afghanistan, we have made the difficult decision to pause program operations and the construction of our boarding school until September 12, 2021. We will continue to employ and support our Afghan staff during this time. The safety of our staff is our priority. It is our hope that we will be able to resume operations in the fall. 

Sahar believes in the future of Afghanistan and its people and we must support them now in every way possible. We have taken down our social media accounts to protect the women and girls we have served. 

As members of our community, donors, and champions of girls’ education, we ask you to join us and continue your commitment to the education of Afghan girls during these challenging times.   Thank you for standing with us in support of Afghanistan and girls education.

We are incredibly grateful to have you on this journey with us. 

 

Warmly, 

Malahat

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Dear Friend of Sahar,

Thank you for your on-going support of Sahar Education. Your generous contributions are especially important as we continue to work with Afghan communities to respond to the on-going challenges of COVID-19.

Promoting mask-wearing and social distancing remains key to decreasing infections and ensuring the ability of local hospitals to respond to severe cases. Despite increased rates of infection, public schools are still open and students continue to receive in-person classes. While COVID-19 is still prevalent in the area, it has fallen into the background given other challenges facing the country. At the same time, Afghanistan is beginning vaccine distribution as well. We continue to encourage wearing masks in our program classrooms and to provide PPE and sanitation items. Given that our programs take place within these schools, our priority is to ensure the safety and security of both students and teachers. 

With your generous contributions, we’ve been able to maintain COVID-19 compliant learning environments by providing masks, hand sanitizer, and requiring students to pass temperature checks before coming into the classroom. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been able to supply our students and staff with over 3,000 masks. Additionally, Sahar has implemented a module on public health and COVID-19 prevention methods via WhatsApp. 

Despite the complications of the pandemic, 148 students have graduated from our Men as Partners in Change program and 127 students have graduated from our Early Marriage Prevention program this year. COVID-19 has been an immense challenge for Sahar and the communities with which we work but, thanks to your support, we’re able to continue the fight for girls’ education and gender equity in Afghanistan. 

We are incredibly grateful to have you on this journey with us. 

 

With Gratitude, 

Ginna Brelsford

 

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Dear Friend of Sahar,

Thank you for your support of Sahar Education during these challenging times. Your contributions are especially important as we work with Afghan communities to respond to COVID-19.

In November, Afghanistan’s Minister of Health announced that a second wave of COVID-19 had begun to spread due to cold weather. In Balkh Province where we work, the majority of people who have tested positive are living in home isolation. Promoting mask-wearing and social distancing remains key to decreasing infections and ensuring the ability of local hospitals to respond to severe cases. Despite increased rates of infection, public schools are still open and students continue to receive in-person classes. Given that our programs take place within these schools, our priority is to ensure the safety and security of both students and teachers. 

With your generous contributions, we’ve been able to maintain COVID-19 compliant learning environments by providing masks, hand sanitizer, and requiring students to pass temperature checks before coming into the classroom. We’ve also worked hard to reduce the number of students within each room and ensure they remain socially distant from one another. With these measures in place, we’ve been able to continue our programs and expand our impact in the community. Zaitona, one of our recent Early Marriage Prevention graduates, says Sahar has taught her “...that every small step in life has its own challenges and consequences...we should not give up on anything. We should struggle and become strong to overcome our challenges.” 

COVID-19 has been an immense challenge for Sahar and the communities with which we work but, thanks to your support, we’re able to continue the fight for girls’ education and gender equity in Afghanistan. Because of your gifts girls like Zaitona receive life-changing education even amidst a pandemic.

We are incredibly grateful to have you on this journey with us. 

Kindest wishes, 

Ginna Brelsford

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Dear Friend,

Thank you for your support of Sahar Education! The communities of northern Afghanistan’s Balkh Province are better prepared to respond to COVID-19 because of your generosity.

Before the pandemic began, 52% of Afghanistan's population was living in poverty and 45% was food insecure according to the Afghan Government. COVID-19 brought high levels of unemployment to the country, coupled with an already weak healthcare system and the inaccessibility of health services to rural communities. Afghanistan's Ministry of Education closed all schools in March and experts predict the long-term negative impact on the education of many children, especially young girls. After six months of school closures, many girls will have difficulty returning to school because of the financial situations of their families. With a lack of income because of the pandemic, families may send young girls to work or choose to marry them off early to support their economic situation. 

Sahar has responded to COVID-19 in a variety of ways. First, the teachers in our Early Marriage Prevention Program worked from home while continuing to keep in touch with our students through WhatsApp groups. Through these groups, EMPP teachers posted their lectures online, gave assignments, and spoke with students. Virtual lessons have been a great mechanism for students to keep learning, cope with stress through yoga and meditation lessons, and stay informed about how to stay healthy in response to COVID-19. Sahar also distributed booklets to households in the community to educate families about best practices for preventative health. These booklets were in local languages, including Dari and Pashto, and had picture illustrations to accommodate high levels of illiteracy. Also, we distributed care packages with face masks, hand sanitizer, and soap to local families. To support the community, the contents of the care packages were sourced from local female-owned businesses. 

The Ministry of Education reopened schools on August 24, 2020, which means Sahar will be working with local communities to help get girls back in school while keeping their health and safety a priority. Sahar’s work and your support of our programs are even more critical to the communities we serve in the light of the challenging circumstances of COVID-19. Together, we will continue:

  • educating over 25,000 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)
  • accompanying men in gender allyship through our Men as Partners in Change program
  • building a boarding school for 265 rural girls to continue their education
  • providing soap, face masks, hand sanitizer, and other COVID-19 necessities to communities in need

We could not respond to COVID-19 in the communities of Mazar-i-Sharif without you. Thank you for your support and for making a difference in the lives of Afghan girls. 

Gratefully yours, 

Ginna

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Organization Information

Sahar Education

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SaharEducation
Project Leader:
Ginna Brelsford
Seattle, WA United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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