Learning Centers for Rural Afghan Women in Herat

by Afghan Institute of Learning

Masuma, a student studying in one of AIL’s Rural Learning Centers in Herat, shared her story with us, “I am fifty years old and I have six children.  I have always wanted to learn how to read.  One of my friends told me to attend one of AIL’s centers and take a class in Arabic.  I took the class and now I can read fluently.  I am so thankful for AIL.”

 AIL believes that it is never too late!!!!

Five Reasons to Celebrate

The year 2010 has been one of many challenges for people throughout the world. In Afghanistan, insecurity, violence, and poverty continue to threaten communities. But the people of Afghanistan are strong and hopeful, and they are working hard to overcome these challenges. At the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), we see it every day. You can help Afghans, particularly women and children, to create a better future for themselves and their families with a contribution to AIL through Global Giving.   

Looking back upon the year, what we focus on are our reasons to celebrate.

  • As a generous donor to AIL, you are a gift to us and to the people of Afghanistan. We thank you and they thank you!!!

In fact, you make all of the other reasons to celebrate possible.  Here is the rest of AIL’s top five reasons to celebrate in 2010:

  • Fatima’s story. Fatima is 22 is and has just graduated from Herat University and come to work with AIL. As a young girl, her school was closed by the Taliban.  She continued studying in one of AIL’s underground home schools and in 2002, reentered high school, graduated and went on to university. Today, her dream, we are humbled to learn, is to work for AIL. She said, “AIL works for people, AIL helps needy people and AIL works among people.  Also AIL’s wish is that Afghan woman and girls can support themselves and their families so the Afghan woman and girls are interested in this project.”
  • Each of the more than 7.9 million people (70% female) who have participated in AIL’s programs since 1996 is a reason to celebrate.  In spite of many challenges, they have chosen to improve their lives and their communities by attending AIL’s Teacher Training, Learning Centers, workshops, and schools; seeking health care and health education at AIL’s health clinics; or receiving AIL’s Community Health Workers into their homes.
  • AIL’s new gynecological and surgical hospital opened in October 2010. It is the only private women’s hospital in Herat province. To keep the reasons to celebrate continuing, fees paid by patients who can afford them will eventually help subsidize AIL’s services at community-based clinics.
  • The Cultural Association Center, a new Learning Center AIL opened in April 2010, located in a rural area about 50 km from Herat City.  The people of the area are very poor and primarily illiterate.  The community learned about AIL’s ability to help them offer educational opportunities to their citizens and worked together to build a small facility. Although all communities are involved in the establishment and sustainability of their centers, this rural area was able to rally its citizens to make this project a success. Through November, nearly 300 students, all of them female, have attended courses at the Center. Subjects included Arabic, Tailoring/Sewing, Math, and Literacy.


Your renewed support will help AIL and the Afghan people start 2011 with renewed hope. If you have not yet renewed your support for AIL, please donate today and tell a friend. Thank you and best wishes.

Grateful and Undaunted

At this time of year, we are reminded of our many blessings and how the people in our lives enrich us and bring joy to every day. All of us at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) are especially grateful to you, for your generous support of our efforts to help the people of Afghanistan overcome many challenges. Through education, teacher training, health care programs, and emergency assistance, as one woman put it, “… AIL is like an experienced mother in our society who is here to get more information to the women of Afghanistan.” We are able to serve that vital role – for the women, men, and children of Afghanistan – because of your contribution. Thank you!

As you celebrate this Holiday Season and anticipate the approach of the New Year, we hope that you will think of us again and make another donation to help ensure AIL is able to continue our work. You have most likely heard that Afghanistan continues to suffer terrible insecurity and poverty. But AIL is undaunted by the headlines because we know that the people of Afghanistan are working hard every day to improve their lives and the future of their country. Together with the people of Afghanistan, we are confident because we know that people like you believe in us and stand by us.

When you make your donation, check out the Tribute Card and Gift Card options – and please tell a friend about AIL and encourage them to make a donation too. As AIL’s founder and executive director, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi has said, “Reach out to others and give a gift to yourself.”

No matter what our circumstances today, when we believe in each other and work together, we can be assured that tomorrow will be better. Seasons Greetings and thank you again.


Sakena Yacoobi

AIL Executive Director

Following is a story of a woman who has been helped by one of the Afghan Institute of Learning’s centers in Herat Province:

“I am 35 years old. I had three children before I came to this course. I was an illiterate woman. I said to myself, “I wish I could study in order to help the development of Afghanistan so, I started my efforts and struggled for learning in AIL’s center in a literacy class. My teacher is a kind woman; also I try hard and study my lessons carefully. Right now I am in eleventh class in the governmental school and the next year I will be graduating from high school. I wish to be a good teacher in the future and I should help our society.  I am thankful for AIL that always works for capacity building of the people.

Looking at the first six months of 2010, the Afghan Institute of Learning has 9 active Education Learning Centers for rural Afghan women in Herat. Two new centers opened in April. 4,734 students of all ages come to these learning centers to become educated in such subjects as literacy, language, sewing and tailoring, computers, carpet weaving, English, math, beauty shop management, miniature painting, embroidery, macramé, Arabic, Pushto, and engraving.

Students and teachers at three of the centers had the opportunity to attend workshops on women’s health and democracy.

Here is a story from one of the sewing students at the Sar Asia learning center: “I was born in an illiterate family. My family didn’t want me to study until I came here. I hope that one day I will become a good tailor in my society for the servicing of my people. Afghanistan women, as you know, are suffering many pains right to have the need to help. I think I should work hard in my society because my country needs to reconstruct. Thanks for AIL who help the people of my village.”

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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Website: http://www.afghaninstituteoflearning.org
Project Leader:
Sakena Yacoobi
Founder & CEO
Dearborn, Michigan United States