Afghanistan ranks last in the world according to the UN Human Poverty Index in quality of life, based on high infant mortality, short life expectancy, and low literacy rates. Lack of opportunity for quality, secular education (especially for girls) undermines Afghanistan's ability to lift itself out of extreme poverty and thwarts efforts to eliminate extremism and achieve gender equality. This community has demonstrated a strong desire to educate its children, but needs help.
General Petraeus and many others have often said that the military is not, and cannot be, the answer to the war on extremism. We must address the lack of hope and opportunity that encourages people to join groups like the Taliban. As NATO forces withdraw, communities that embrace and can sustain their schools will be critical to the country's stability and continued development. Ayni seeks to help this community reach the point where it can sustain own school, and all children attend.
Education is a long-term means to alleviate poverty in developing countries. Quality education provides tangible skills that translate directly to meeting development goals. In addition, education can increase stability and promote peace-building in conflict zones. Ayni promotes unity among students, parents, teachers, and community leaders when it invests in a community. Such unity leads a community to invest in education and, in a broader sense, peace.