Afghan Women Learn Traditional Carpet Weaving

by Afghan Institute of Learning

Thank you for your support of AIL’s project. While the situation in Afghanistan continues to prove challenging, with your help AIL is finding ways to continue bringing high quality education to the women of Afghanistan. 

The teachers and students in AIL’s carpet weaving program have been hard at work. Recently a professional designer came to the center and designed several new carpets for the students to weave. The students are excited to be working on new patterns, and to be taking part in the traditional Afghan art of carpet weaving. 

The carpet weaving courses are being taught along side other traditional Afghan arts such as miniature painting, calligraphy, silk weaving and more. The center where these classes are being taught has become a center of cultural significance for the community, helping to keep alive many traditional Afghan arts. 

Don’t forget!  The holidays are a great time to share your passion for AIL and the great work that they do! GlobalGiving offers gift certificates which can be used to donate to AIL’s projects. Also, beginning December 1st, the initial donation made by recurring donors will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving. There is only $25,000 available in matching funds, so help AIL take advantage of this opportunity early!

As we shared with you in October, carpet weaving is being taught in two of AIL’s centers. Since October, we have been able to increase the total number of students to 26 women.  Both the carpet-weaving course and the silk weaving course are very popular and are helping to teach these ancient skills to a new generation of Afghan women. In addition to passing on a part of Afghanistan’s cultural history to a new generation, the skills learned in these courses continue to provide a real source of income to the widows and poor women who take part. 

While I was in Afghanistan for a conference in April, I had a chance to visit many of the AIL Centers and I was so pleased with what I saw.  Everywhere women were learning!  Whether it was literacy, math, English, Arabic or a skill, they were all very involved in their lessons.  Those that I talked to spoke about how important AIL is to them.

I took that opportunity to take some pictures, and I thought that I would share a couple with you.  These pictures portray a woman, squatting in front of a loom beginning a new carpet.  In one picture, you can see two completed small rugs in the background.  In the other, you can see the tool that the carpet weaver holds while she is working and uses to cut the wool.

Please remember that Wednesday, June 13th (beginning at 12:01 AM EST) is a Bonus Day through Global Giving.  Donations received that day will be provided a matching gift of 30, 40 or 50 percent.

Since 1995, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) has been helping Afghans lift themselves above the devastation of war by providing education, training, health care, and health education.  AIL’s approach is to interlink health and education programs, like building blocks that together form a whole structure.  While delivering these basic services AIL has also been able to promote critical thinking skills and model and teach human rights, women’s rights, peace, democracy, and leadership. With new skills and information, Afghans are becoming empowered and hopeful. Through your financial support, you have been a part of these seeds of systemic change.

Through the natural progression that exists when people begin to think for themselves, AIL often receives requests from Afghans who want to find ways to work together to promote love, understanding, and forgiveness to their people in order to return to a peaceful way of life; the way of their country’s history.  Supported by Fetzer Institute,  AIL is responding to these requests by holding an International Conference on Love and Forgiveness this Spring that will be shared throughout the country and internationally via film.  This conference will focus on the study of Afghan poets and musicians, particularly the work of Mawlana (Rumi).  Participating in the conference will be poets, writers, Sufis and government representatives from all parts of Afghanistan and the world.

Joining the Conference, in person, or via film or writings, are:

  • Poet Coleman Barks; known as the pre-eminent translator of Rumi, the great 13th century poet and teacher.  Mr. Barks’ writings and translations have filled 15 books that are more popular than other renderings of these ancient words.  They make Rumi’s raptures accessible to the world beyond their creation.
  • Stephen Olsson, President of CEM Productions, has produced and directed documentary films, television series and feature news reports throughout the world for US and European broadcasters.  He also produced and directed: Afghanistan: The Fight For A Way of Life, which was broadcast throughout the world and cited by The New York Times as one of the best documentary films of the year.
  • Divine Mother Audrey Kitagawa, a former attorney, practiced in Honolulu for twenty years, and became the spiritual leader of The Light of Awareness International Spiritual Family, a worldwide community based in Hawaii. Divine Mother Audrey is a prolific writer on matters of spirituality and multiculturalism and serves on many global, spiritual and UN advisory boards, including as Advisor to the World Federation of United Nations Associations.

 AIL invites you to join Afghans in thought and through your own study of music and poetry that brings us all closer to the peaceful world we endeavor to achieve.

Finally, after all these years, I have a carpet of my own from the Afghan Institute of Learning.  I had considered ordering a carpet previously, but knowing all of the time that goes into each one and the shipping that would be involved, I refrained.  However, when I was in Afghanistan last Spring, I had time to visit with the young women (students) who were weaving.  I was so struck by their abilities and impressed by their attention to detail that I decided then to place my order. 

I have attached one photo of the carpet as a whole and two closeups in order to show you the beautiful, detailed work.  I could not be more pleased.  This was well worth the wait.  What a fine craft these women are learning!

Please keep in mind that Wednesday, March 14, 2012 is Bonus Day through GlobalGiving.  Donations up to $1,000.00 will be provided with a 30% match.  The bonus allotment is $50,000.00 and the period runs from 12:01 AM EST until the funds are exhausted.  So, if you would like your donation to go a little further with the help of Global Giving, give early on March 14th.  Thank you!


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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
carolyn dunlap
Dearborn, Michigan United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 74 donors like you, a total of $9,657 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. 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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