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Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan

by Sahar Education
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Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan
Girls having class outside on a nice day
Girls having class outside on a nice day

We have made tremendous impact on girls education in rural Afghanistan because of your generosity and continued support. Your dollars will go far in rural northern Afghanistan, where many children still lack access to quality education. There’s more to be done: our nine schools in village regions are always in need of more supplies and teachers as we try to keep up with rising enrollment. You have helped us provide classroom repairs, such as roof repairs and blackboard resurfacing for lessons, as well as materials like textbooks, school supplies, and library books. By supplying these items, you directly improve the quality of the education these children recieve.     

You help us give girls living in rural Afghanistan the support system they need to continue their education. We have ensured that girls stay in school by supporting an liaison who facilitate parent-teacher meetings and organize community-building activities. These activities allow us to communicate effectively with the families of girls who are attending our rural schools and demonstrate the value of education. Also, our liaisons connect with the girls by listening to their stories and speaking candidly with them about their futures, and whether they plan on entering the workforce after graduation or moving on to some form of higher education. Our liaisons are essential for supporting the girls in Afghanistan who are the most vunlerable. Girls often drop out of school between sixth and ninth grades becuase of expectations to help their families with work or to marry at an early age. You have helped us to work on  eliminating these barriers to girls' education in rural Afghanistan by organzing a group of liasions dedicated to cultivating relationships with the girls in our schools and with their families.  Abida, a sixteen-year-old girl at one of our schools, told us, "I am the first child in my family [to go to school]. Going to school and trying to be an educated person was started by me in my family. I want to be a doctor in the future." This is the impact you have on students in Afghanistan. You can help us educate the next generation of Afghans and make sure that children in rural Afghanistan have the resources they need to take on leadership roles in the future. Thank you. 

You have also supported our efforts in training more female teachers and ensuring that more will return to rural northern Afghanistan to work. We train female teachers from these rural areas, who then reutrn to teach children from their own villages and allow hundreds of girls to be educated every year. Moreover, you have transported many of our teachers who live outisde of these village regions to our schools. A qualified teacher who students can depend on is critical in this conflict-zone.  

We thank you for continuing to support our efforts in rural northern Afghanistan. You have enabled hundreds of children to receive a quality education, who are often the first ones in their family to attend school. These children now have the opportunity to build better lives for themselves and their future families in rural Afghanistan.   

Homework study
Homework study
Class taking a test
Class taking a test
Girls working in class
Girls working in class

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Finished Murals
Finished Murals

Thanks to over 800 donors, we have met our original goal of $95,000 to help fund girls education in Afghanistan. This is tremendous support for education and these girls have benefited greatly over the past few years. There are a number of projects that we have been able to run thanks to these funds, check out one such project below. 

Artist Competition

Sahar held an artist competition at the Gawhar Khatoon school prior to it's opening this summer. The goal was to provide the halls with some beautiful designs and encourage young female artist to continue to develop their craft. Several winners were chosen, we sat down with one of the winners, Mursal, to learn more about her love of art. 

Where are you from? 

I am from Herat, and stay in Kabul. 

 What kinds of things do you most enjoying doing, besides art? 

 Since finishing the school I try my best to focus in my own field (Graphic Design) I also enjoy doing some cultural and social works.  

 When did you first realize that you love art? 

When I was in 11th grade I was always encouraged by my family, especially my mom and my teachers, to be a doctor when I grow up. But after a while I started to ask myself, what do I really want? When I finally chose to be an artist, my family did not accept this. However, I have worked hard and now consider myself an artist, every thing is simply great for me.  

 What role does an artist have in society or why is art important? 

Every person has different opinion but in my opinion art can play a good role in our society but our people don't know the value. If we look carefully there are lots of artistic points around us like boards and stands. I hope to work towards helping people realize the value of the arts. 

Who or What inspires you?

Piccaso's work really impresses me. After studying him and analyzing his work, I realized that there are lots of things that have similarity between my ideas and his.  

How has it been working with everyone on the Gawhar Khatoon school project? 

It was one of the best memories in my whole life. Working individually is not as good as when we work as a group. We were a great team and I had lots of nice moments to reflect on. Working on a mural that big was new for me. It was a learning experience for me at every step. I hadn’t ever thought of working on such a big wall and climbing on to the scaffolding before this project.

Do you think everyone should try art? 

Being an artist is not easy. It takes effort, talent and commitment. In my point of view everyone is born as an artist, the important part is working and discovering yourself. When a child can hold a pen, give them pencil and color to paint. 

Most inspirational person in your life? 

The most inspirational person in my life is Mr. Hashmat a teacher of mine at University. He is the one who encouraged me to work hard and helped to analyze my pieces from both negative and positive sides.  

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

Think before you start your work.  

What is your dream art project? 

I want to be a graphic designer or animator. Animation is really new in Afghanistan and needs a lot of work and efforts to develop this new industry.

What is next for you? 

Next, I hope to have opportunities like Gawhar Khatoon mural project and be able to share my art with others.

Girls painting the murals
Girls painting the murals
Murals in progress
Murals in progress
Girls painting on scaffolding
Girls painting on scaffolding

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School girls gather for class photo
School girls gather for class photo

“Educating women is a matter of national necessity. Educating one young girl will change the next five generations of a family. Afghanistan's self-reliance aligns men and women who can run a modern economy. Basic health and education must reach all our young girls. That's a promise.” --Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Address to Joint Meeting of Congress

 It is nice to have friends around when things are going well in our lives. But we need our friends most when we’re going through a hard time. Afghanistan is going through a hard time right now – and as friends we cannot walk away.

Afghanistan has gone through a tremendous amount of change  since the fall of the Taliban 14 years ago. Women now make up 27% of the Afghan Parliament; they own businesses, women are appointed as governors and ministers; they are working as lawyers and educators. Today, girls and young women make up 40% of the nine million students in Afghanistan. These gains were hard earned. Afghan women have struggled and still struggle to secure a good living status for themselves. 

Today, 3.3 million children, about 32 percent of the school-age population, most of whom are girls, still remain out of school. Afghanistan has the highest level of gender disparity in primary education in the world. Only 21 percent of girls complete primary school, mostly due to cultural barriers such as early marriage and a lack of female teachers.

Sahar has launched a pilot program to prevent early marriage in two schools outside of Mazar-i-Sharif. Over 1,000 girls will participate in this program, based on leadership training and mentoring. Families, especially fathers, are also participating in meetings designed to provide a forum for communication with the schools and to learn about the opportunities available to their daughters if they postpone marriage. 

With the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, many non-profit organizations have already departed. Sahar, however, is dedicated to staying and helping women and young girls achieve their dreams.

Girls taking test in school
Girls taking test in school
Girls playing outside of school
Girls playing outside of school
Girls in a classroom
Girls in a classroom

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Thanks to the BBC the innovative new school for 3,000 girls in Mazari-i-Sharif, Afghaniston, is getting we;cp,e attention. I reported last time about the buzz created in Afghanistan when we officially opened Gohar Khotan. The buzz is now worldwide. The BBC World Service broadcast a live interview of Ginna Brelsford (aka me!) and Dave Miller, the head of the architectural firm that led the design effort, conducted by Dan Damon. Please listen! Just click on the link below. I think you will be especially impressed with some of the design features that Dave talks about.

In addition, the Safer World Fund is now offering a 50% match on contributions via Global Giving to two Sahar projects. To honor loved ones lost on 9/11, the Fund promotes support for education, health and economic opportunity for girls and women in Afghanistan as a way to "counter the sway of extremists and terrorist tactics." They are trying to induce more contributions to Sahar! While funds last, your donation to either of the two projects will be matched, up to a combined limit of $1,500. Links to both projects are below. Just donate as you normally would; the matching is automatic as long as the Safer World Fund logo and notice appears on the project's web page.  

Despite always present security concerns, girls education is alive and well in northern Afghanistan. Your support makes it possible. Thank you so much 

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Architects' Rendition of GK School
Architects' Rendition of GK School

It gives me great pleasure to let you know that the new school Sahar has been building in Mazar-i-Sharif, Gohar Khotan, is now open and providing education to about 3,000 girls of all ages. I attended the opening celebration on June 2 and was delighted by the festive atmosphere, the attendance of high-level leaders from the Ministry of Education, the local government, and local tribal organizations, and the enthusiastic presentations of the principal, teachers and students. 

Gohar Khaton’s architectural innovations are likely to be copied in many other schools in northern Afghanistan.  Designed by an international team of architects, the building features exceptional structural integrity (including the highest level of earthquake protection), adaptation to the local environment, use of inexpensive local materials, utilitarian spaces, and low maintenance--all that in a building that I can tell you is simply stunning to look at. Sahar will certainly be using what we have learned from this effort as we continue to build school structures in northern Afghanistan.

More important than the structure is the girls who will be educated at Gohar Khotan. They aspire to be journalists, doctors, computer scientists, teachers, artists and more. Their spirit is reflected in the words of one student who participated in the art festival that engaged the students in decorating the school.

“I am a young artist and I had the opportunity to come to this magnificent girls' school to be part of something much larger than myself. For twenty days, I participated in an artists’ training about how to take my own artwork and paint it on one of the walls at the new school. I never thought I would have this opportunity. I believe art, and especially art by girls, can help heal the wounds of war.” Tahira, student at Gohar Khotan.

I am also pleased to tell you that we are preparing to open two more of Sahar’s popular computer centers for girls, one at Gohar Khotan and the other at another girls' school in Mazar-i-Sharif, Sultan Razia and led by an energetic Afghan woman with whom we have worked on other projects. And the teacher training center Sahar supports remains very popular with the older girls from many of the rural areas who are striving to become the teachers of the next generation of girls in Afghanistan. There are 256 girls in attendance now, and another 140 waiting to be admitted.

I hope the above conveys at least a little of the high level of excitement for girls’ education I have been witnessing during my visit. Yes there are security concerns, but girls’ education is alive and well in northern Afghanistan. Your donations make that possible. Thank you so much.   

Painting Artwork on the Walls at GK School
Painting Artwork on the Walls at GK School
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Organization Information

Sahar Education

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Ginna Brelsford
Seattle, WA United States
$165,397 raised of $200,000 goal
 
1,774 donations
$34,603 to go
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