The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) in Herat now has 14 Women’s Learning Centers for 3,149 students. Ten of the centers are located in rural areas and the four centers in Herat City serve displaced and poor women and children. 75% of the students are female. All classes are Fast Track classes (see prior reports). Subjects that can be studied include literacy, math, computer, English, tailoring, carpet weaving, embroidery, knitting, art, calligraphy, Arabic and beautician training. All classes include lessons in peace education, health, human rights and leadership. All of the teachers have continuous training and students report that they learn faster in AIL classes because of the quality of the teachers than they do in schools or other places.
Many of the students attending the AIL centers lead difficult lives and studying at the centers has helped them to improve their situation. Here are the stories of a few of theses students.
Zahra is a teacher at the Jabraeel center. She began learning English in this center in 2004. Zahra lost her father when she was very small. She spent hard time with her mothers, brother and sisters while they returned from Iran to Afganistan. She had wanted to learn the English language, and once she began classes, she progressed very quickly, reaching the highest level of instruction in one year. AIL hired her as English language teacher at the same center where she had been a student. She also has volunteered as a literacy teacher at the center. The salary she has gotten from the center spent on her education. She also has participated in sewing classes at the center as well as an AIL leadership seminar.
Zahra says, “All of my success belongs to AIL. The salary I get from AIL I spend to support my family. I teach four different English language classes.” Zahra did not stop to learn she got admission in computer class in the center.
During Jun 2007 A.I.L introduced six students for the Exchange Student Program. Among the, Zahra was the only one who could pass the first session of the tests. She reached the second session and after the passing the second test she will go to the USA through the mentioned program.
Sadiqa a student of the sewing course at the Jabraeel center says, “AIL is in the heart of every resident of Jabraeel, because every one has access to the different educational field that he or she is interested in. 90 % of the people of the people of Jabraeel have benefited from AIL programs. It means that each two people of each home use Jabraeel center.”