Learning Centers for Rural Afghan Women in Herat

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Vetted

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

Through August 2012, AIL’s Learning Centers in Herat Province have provided education for 3,552 Afghan women and girls in classes ranging from sewing to computers, carpet weaving to literacy. AIL continues to offer classes in culturally sensitive manner, attracting students whose families might not allow them to attend otherwise. 

AIL’s Executive Director, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi was recently interviewed and asked her opinions on unlocking the potential of women in Afghanistan. Here is what she had to say, 

“ Afghanistan, for about 35 years has been at war, and through this war situation, the women have been abused and violated against all the time, and also a major part of the society ignored the part of the woman... if you ignore 60% of society, you are not getting anywhere.”
“ Women have the capacity if you really give them the environment, if you really work with them and give them opportunity, they will blossom and they will nourish and they will be able to provide so much for the nation that the nation will go through transformation.”
“ So in order to really build this nation, we must work with woman and children, and that's we're doing. And through working with women and educating them, we have been reach, like, about 9 million people so far in my 15 years. 9 million people when we reach, right now all of a sudden we see the transformation is taking place. Women are more empowered. They go to the task force, they go to the political arena, and they are working toward democracy. They understand. Before, they didn't understand what we're trying to ask them what to do, and in order for them to understand, we must educate them and give them awareness. And through many, many workshop, like leadership workshop, management workshop, peace education, we help the woman to help herself.”
“ Through this process of educating young woman and young girls, I have seen many, many lives have been changed, their style of life change, they become very powerful. They become self-sufficient.”

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!

Every month we receive stories showing the positive effect that AIL is able to have in lives of women in Afghanistan. A positive effect that is due in part to your generous support. We would like to share with you the story of Fatima, a young girl studying literacy in one of AIL’s centers in Herat.

One year ago, Fatima was unable to read or write. She decided to attend literacy classes in one of AIL’s rural centers in Herat Province. In the past year, Fatima has proven herself to be a very intelligent student. She says, “I am not the same person I was last year, I am now a literate woman.” In fact, Fatima has begun to teach her mother and father how to read and write. She began by teaching them the alphabet, and is now up to page nineteen in the grade one literacy book. 

This is the story of a student at the Sar Asia Center in Herat:

 I am 22 years old.  Seven years ago, I came to this Center and studied sewing.  I learned how to sew and the cutting of clothes.  Fortunately, I now have a daily income from sewing clothes.  I can earn 10 dollars per day and my family’s expenditures are 7 dollars every day.  I can save three dollars each day.  In one year I can save 1100 dollars.  This is how I am helping my family.  I continue to come to the Center to attend literacy and Arabic classes.  I am now in the fourth level of literacy.  When I started here, my family did not like the idea, but now they respect me and encourage me.  Recently, I enrolled my mother in literacy classes so that she may also learn.

These kinds of stories touch my heart and give me hope for all women in Afghanistan.  The idea that she is saving money for her future makes me smile and shows me that AIL is helping people lead better lives.

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.

In September of 2011, two additional Learning Centers were opened in the Herat Province by the
Afghan Institute of Learning.  Both of these Centers were requested by the communities they serve.  One started with 114 students, but enrollment there has already increased to 185.  The other, located
in a small rural village, began with 20 female students, and had increased to 27 by January.

In addition, in November 2011, the Afghan Institute of Learning was asked to help support yet another Learning Center in Herat.  This Center currently hosts 50 students.  As of January 2012, there were
14 Learning Centers operating in the Herat Province, and 70% of the nearly 5,000
students are women.


Please keep in mind that Wednesday, March 14, 2012 is Bonus Day through Global Giving.  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:/​/​www.afghaninstituteoflearning.org
Project Leader:
Sakena Yacoobi
Dearborn, Michigan United States

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