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Educating Afghans in Peace and Human Rights

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Educating Afghans in Peace and Human Rights
Educating Afghans in Peace and Human Rights
Educating Afghans in Peace and Human Rights
Educating Afghans in Peace and Human Rights
Young Women in a Peace Workshop
Young Women in a Peace Workshop

Thank you so much for supporting our project to educate Afghans about human rights, ways to incorporate peace in to their lives, and how to help make their their communities to more peaceful places. During 2014, our staff made a particular push to educate Afghans about the elections, which took place in February and April. These election workshops focused on teaching people not only how to vote, but also why it was so important and how the elections would directly impact their lives. Thanks to these workshops as well as other outreach efforts, AIL has been credited with getting thousands to vote.

In June, we held what we have termed “Ideation Symposiums” for 260 Afghans. These Symposiums were a chance for large groups of Afghans to come together and discuss the problems facing Afghanistan, and then to discuss peaceful solutions to these problems. Participants came from all walks of life, and many remarked that they had never attended a workshop like this one. Many participants said that they would be sharing what they learned with as many people as possible, including the principal of a local high school who said that she would be developing lessons for her students based on the workshops. Crews from several Afghan television networks attended the conference, and a recording of the conference was broadcast on several times on Afghan television networks.

Our staff has been overwhelmed by the positive responses from these workshops, and is now planning to hold similar workshops in the fall. We thank you for all of the support you have shown to our project. We have found the funding that we need to completely fund these workshops, and have decided to close this project. If you would like to continue supporting AIL, we ask you to please give to our project Afghan Institute of Learning Empowers Women.

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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!


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Girls in a Workshop
Girls in a Workshop

Dear Friends, 

 During 2013, your generous support allowed the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)  staff to develop workshops  focused on teaching young Afghans about peace, human rights and democracy.

 It is estimated that over 60% of the population of Afghanistan is under the age of 25. Given this, the AIL staff is focusing on teaching these young Afghans, particularly young women, about peace, human rights and how democracy impacts their lives. Many of these students have known nothing but war for the whole of their lives, and these workshops open the student’s eyes to the possibility of a different future for their country. 

 "Peace brings happiness, prosperity, security and stability to community where people live. Peace is the base of a prosperous life by which a country reaches joy and luxury"

15-year-old workshop attendee

 As hard as it can be for those who have always lived in a democratic nation to understand, many Afghans are struggling to see why democracy matters to them. They do not think that voting has an impact, and they do not think that they can do anything to help Afghanistan move towards peace. AIL’s workshops are helping the young people to see that they have the power to make a different, by taking both small and large actions. 

Before coming to this workshop I did not know much about democracy. I always thought democracy was for foreigners and developed countries. I didn’t think we could have democracy in Afghanistan, but this workshop changed my mind. We can have democracy here too. I also learned the benefits of having democracy in the community. I thank AIL for giving me the chance to understand what democracy means.

During 2013 your support helped AIL to offer workshops in peace, human rights, and democracy for over 1,000 Afghans, the majority of whom were Afghan youth. Thank you for your support and for seeing the difference this project can make!!

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Peace & Human Rights Workshop
Peace & Human Rights Workshop

Dear Friends, 

Thank you for your continued support of the Afghan Institute of Learning’s efforts to spread the message of Peace and Human Rights across Afghanistan. During 2013, AIL came to the realization that the young people of Afghanistan are ready for change and are eager to know what they can do to improve the situation of their country. To quench the youth’s thirst for this information, AIL has begun to hold workshops on topics such as peace, democracy, the importance of elections, social justice and human rights just for them. Here is what the participants in the workshops have to say when they are over: 

My name is Ali and I am 21 years old. I am a student at Herat University. I have never been interested in attending workshops like this before because I always thought they would be boring nonsense, but a friend convinced me to go to just one. After the workshop, I found out that I was wrong for not attending anything like this before. I admit that I was ignorant before. This symposium has helped me to believe in myself, my abilities and my capacity. This workshop persuaded me to search and study more. It helped me to see that I need to be an active member of my community and that I must help my countrymen build their capacity. I thank AIL for changing my views. 

Before coming to this workshop I knew very little about democracy. I had always thought that democracy was only for foreigners and developed countries. I thought that we couldn’t have democracy in Afghanistan, but this workshop helped to change my mind. We can have democracy in Afghanistan. I also learned that benefits of having a democracy on the community where I live. I thank AIL for giving me a chance to really understand what democracy means. 

The youth of Afghanistan are ready to help move the country forward, towards peace, but they need help to know how to do so. AIL’s workshops are giving these students tools and information that they can share with others, and spread the message of peace, democracy and human rights. We thank you for supporting this project, and the important work that it is doing! 

Attached to this report is our year-end newsletter. We hope that you will take a moment to read through it. 

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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!

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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AIL_ngo
Project Leader:
carolyn dunlap
Dearborn, MI United States

Funded Project!

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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