Learning Centers for Rural Afghan Women in Herat

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Women Sewing in an AIL Class
Women Sewing in an AIL Class

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) thank our donors for their support of our learning centers in Herat. In the last six months, our 17 learning centers brought education to almost 9,000 Afghans, 6,000 of which were women. Through our educational workshops in Herat, we trained 643 more women in topics such as reproductive health, human rights, democracy, and leadership. AIL is making large strides in the progress and education of women and your donations are making it possible.

Aside from traditional educational courses such as literacy, Arabic, English, math and science, we offer skill-based courses in computers, tailoring, and weaving for women so that they can take these acquired skills and earn a living for their families. An illustrative example of this is the woman Afsana. Housebound and not allowed to go to school by her family, members of the community talked to her family and convinced them to allow her to go to a learning center in Sufi Abad, near Herat.

"My name is Afsana. I was living in Shindand district about 200km away from heart city. My husband is addicted. My family didn't let me study. When I saw people read and write and they could use computers I thought I went back to 100 years ago so I came here to change my life."

AIL registered her for classes and after she became literate, she was soon studying English and computer technology. In one year, she went from an illiterate housewife to working as an office assistant for a large company, due to her newfound computer skills. Afsana is one of many women whose lives have been completely changed by the education AIL provides through our learning centers.

We have a big year planned ahead and we hope to open more centers in the Herat region to better serve those who have the least access to education. We are just starting up a new set of mobile literacy workshops and classes for the Herat region in particular. Soon, more women and children from Herat will learn how to read using mobile phones as a learning tool. Again, we want to thank you all for your support of our programs!

Class in an AIL Learning Center
Class in an AIL Learning Center
Class in an AIL Learning Center
Class in an AIL Learning Center
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi receiving her hood at Princeton
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi receiving 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


Women's Networking Movement

The Afghan Institute of Learning is very excited to have been given the opportunity to blog at Huffington Post! Our first blog about the Women’s Networking Movement taking place in some of AIL’s centers has been posted. The Women’s Networking Movement is taking place in about 30 of AIL’s centers, schools and clinics. The women coming to these centers are sharing thoughts and ideas in ways that have not been possible until recently.

To learn more about the Women’s Networking Movement, check out our blog at Huffington Post

Creating Hope International, AIL’s partner, has set up a Facebook page where we will be sharing more news, pictures and information about AIL’s programs. Make sure that you ‘Like’ Creating Hope International on Facebook to get all the latest news! 


The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) would like to offer our sincerest thanks for a very successful year thus far. In January of 2013, AIL Learning Centers in Herat  helped many women and girls obtain educational services, with over 4100 women and girls served. In late 2012 AIL opened three new centers to better serve primarily poor and under-educated women. With the addition of these new centers, the total number of centers we currently support in Herat is 17, up from 14 this time last year. Over 70% of the beneficiaries of our learning centers in Herat are women, and the number of students attending our centers continues to grow at a steady pace. Such numbers are a promising reminder of what we here at AIL and CHI are striving for.

Our learning centers in Herat offer dozens of literacy, English, Arabic, tailoring, weaving, math, science, and computer courses for women and girls. These courses are making an immediate impact on the lives of all who attend. Women are learning how to become economically self-sufficient, girls are learning how to think critically, and women and girls of all ages are beginning to take up leadership roles in their communities and are becoming increasingly independent.

Our centers are causing a shift in the communities they serve. Although the primary beneficiaries of centers are the individuals who get an education, the entire community benefits from having an educated base that has more earning potential, critical thinking ability, and leadership qualities. In addition, AIL centers and clinics are becoming centers for women to network and share ideas with other women. Our work is far from over, but we are very optimistic about these promising changes and the progress we have made. Thank you all again for your support!

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) would like to wish you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons.  As you celebrate with those you love, please take a moment to look at CHI’s yearly newsletter, which we’ve attached to this report. As you will see, 2012 has been a transformative year for AIL and CHI. After years of working tirelessly to provide education, training and healthcare to Afghans, we are beginning to see a real change. The minds of those AIL works with are being opened to the possibility of a peaceful Afghan society.

AIL is in the process of finalizing a 5 year funding plan, which will be put into place beginning in 2013. We are looking forward to sharing the details of this plan with you soon, and hope that you will find it in your heart to give generously to help us reach our goal. The people of Afghanistan are making great strides, but our work is not done yet. Instead of backing down, we need to push ahead and continue to give Afghans the tools they need to create a more peaceful country. We are hoping that we can count on you to help continue our work. 

The women are beginning to see that through education they can have a better life, and are insisting on educating their children. They are taking charge of their health, and we are seeing more and more women requesting workshops on pre-natal issues as well as reproductive health. AIL is encouraged to see so many Afghan women looking forward to a brighter future and is planning to be there to help the women lead the way to the Afghanistan of their dreams. 


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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.afghaninstituteoflearning.org
Project Leader:
Sakena Yacoobi
Dearborn, Michigan United States
$50,377 raised of $60,000 goal
1,319 donations
$9,623 to go
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