Help Educate 28,000+ Girls in Northern Afghanistan

by Sahar Education
Girls at School
Girls at School

Ayni Education International is celebrating a new day in Afghanistan by changing its name to Sahar Education. Sahar means “dawn” in Dari, the most common language spoken in the area we serve in Northern Afghanistan. Our leadership team and our Afghan advisors all agree—this is a new day for girls in Afghanistan.

The historic, peaceful transition to a new government under a coalition led by President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah is poised to bring stability to Afghanistan as coalition forces continue to withdraw. Yet many challenges remain. That’s why Sahar will continue to provide education for Afghan girls—building schools, creating computer centers, and supporting teacher training—while always seeking opportunities to meet the challenges presented as great change is undertaken. Please continue to support our work at this critical juncture in Afghanistan’s history.

Leadership Student
Leadership Student

Your donations help us continue to see tremendous growth in our ability to close the gap in those girls who do go to school and those who do not and importantly to help us find innovative ways to keep girls in school after completing K-5th grades. Thank you. 

Education may seem like a simple action in a nation ravaged by war for the last several decades, but we have seen tremendous change in the status of girls and women. Providing quality education experiences is about more than just getting more girls into the classroom, it is about empowering them to be free, creative thinkers who can engage in the public discussion of their country’s culture and politics and be respected and heard. It is about giving them the skills to become leaders. 

Seventy-seven girls graduated high school in one of our rural villages and 59% of those girls went on to our advanced teacher training program. In two years, those girls will be certified to teach. Afghanistan still faces mounting pressures to provide more female teachers. It is estimated that next year alone, the nation needs more than 80,000 teachers. Raising our graduation rates in the 12 schools we serve provides the possibilities of easing this problem. With female teachers available to teacher older girls, more girls have the chance to identify and move towards post graduate goals. 

"It is fine to go to school but I want more. I want to be a leader but I need practice and skills. We don't have courses for this." Fahima

We have responded to this request by developing a leadership pilot program for a rural school. Twenty-seven girls are participating. The girls were asked to write a vision statement and list their goals. The program is focusing on a group of  girls vulnerable to dropping out. This brings out their dreams and visions and provides them with support. Here are few samples of the girls' statements:

Hameda: "I won the first prize in our school short story competition between more than 30 students. So, from that time my world changed and I started to read and write. My vision is to be a famous writer in the future. I want to write about women's issue. I want to write about world of girls. I want to write about how it is being a woman in a war country like Afghanistan and living in a district far from the city. I will write about all these issues. I will go to university and read many, many books and then I will publish my stories."
Yalda: "My vision is to became a midwife. I am currently in 11th grade and will graduate in one year. Being a midwife is important to me because I saw one of my relatives have a baby without the help of a midwife and it was horrible moments for me when I heard her voice. The health of women can be in trouble. From that moment I decided to be a midwife and help such women." 
Anihta: "I am a girl who lives in a district far from the center of the village. I have a wish which is my vision statement.  I really want to be an engineer. Currently I am in 12th grade. I will be part of this group that teaches girls how to say their goals and then strive for them with the support of one another and our teacher. The circle of leadership means that we want the best for each other and have pragmatic pathways."
 
The course is designed to run for six months and will be evaluated by the girls at the conclusion. Donor support is essential to the ongoing opportunities for girls to learn leadership skills and how to both ascertain their goals and then to participate in leadership circles to act upon these aspirations. 
Leadership Participantes
Leadership Participantes

Education may seem like a simple action in a nation ravaged by war for the last several decades, but we have seen tremendous change in the status of girls and women. Providing quality education experiences is about more than just getting more girls into the classroom, it is about empowering them to be free, creative thinkers who can engage in the public discussion of their country’s culture and politics and be respected and heard. We are a long ways off from achieving our goals of gender parity in the Afghanistan education system, but we continue to see tremendous growth in our capability to make this a reality.

We recently hosted a short story competition at one of our schools, where students were encouraged to write a short story about their life. More than 30 were submitted from 10th through 12th graders. The goal of this competition was to allow students to write stories using their unique voice about their own experiences or life around the village. In addition, students were required to read outside books to help with create a short story. Together these goals encouraged reading and general knowledge, as well as promoting creativity and empowerment by allow the children to raise their own voice and write about the situation.

The stories we received shocked and awed us. The titles were as diverse as “The Merchant Daughter” to “Regret is Useless,” Forces Marriages,” and “Unchastity.” The outpouring for this competition highlights the need to creative outlets in education and further opportunities for students to have their opinion heard.

 More than half-way through the construction of our 11th school, Ayni has been researching new ways to improve our service and make our mission more effective. This month has seen a focus on the effects of early marriage on education and how we can reverse this trend. Over 39% of women are married by 18 in Afghanistan. This leads to a lack of education, maternal and infant health problems, and violence. Currently we are trying to pursue strategic partnerships and engages communities in informational programs in order to raise awareness and address this problem.

You can read more about child marriage here:

http://americamagazine.org/issue/364/article/child-marriage-afghanistan-and-pakistan

http://www.wclrf.org.af/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Early-Marrige-with-cover.pdf

All this work would not be possible without your help. We are so thankful every day for the donor support we continue to receive. We look forward to more innovative progress in the future.

 Thank you.

Empowering a girl with education
Empowering a girl with education

Educating A Generation with Your Donor Dollars

"Because we try from our hearts and we believe in ourselves and we have our parents with us." A student studying for her education

When you educate a girl in Afghanistan, everything changes. Your help in doing just that goes a long way by supporting literacy development in girls ages 5-22 in Balkh Province, Northern Afghanistan. Thanks to donor support, we have been able to both build physical schools as well as develop programs with computers, libraries and a teacher training center that aims to bring more female teachers to rural areas. 

There are currently more girls enrolled in school than at any time in Afghanistan's history with females accounting for 36% of all students. We want to continue this trend and improve upon it until every girl is enrolled in school. The benefits are tremendous:  early marriage is delayed, maternal health improves and the economics of the family likewise improve because girls become employable upon graduation. 

The story below demonstrates what education can mean in the life of a girl.

Shazia is now 18 and was just accepted to the university after receiving a high school education at a school built with and supported by your donor funds.

 “I remembered when my father and mother helped me with my lessons every night and my parents asked me about my tasks and new lessons. I spent all my time going to school and studying my lessons.” She had the first position in her class all 12 years. She said: “I thought it was my duty to learn. "

Shazia is living with her family of 8. Her brother is studying in the Faculty of Agriculture in Balkh University. And her younger brother is in grade 12 in the top position of his class. Her three sisters are also students at the Ayni built school. And they are all in first position in their classes. Shazia said: “Why and how are we able to do this? Because we try from our hearts and we believe in ourselves and we have our parents with us. Parents are a very big power for the children. When they encourage you, you think you have the entire world behind you. I am very happy and lucky that I have my parents with myself.”

Shazia passed the Kankor- like the America SAT -  examination and is now proceeding to university. 

The is fantastic news and thanks to your support of our computer centers, library books and the buildings for Shazia to study in, her success is moving to the next level of education.

Shazia delayed marriage as well as early childbirth. It is a well known fact that an educated mother is more likely to ensure that her children also receive an education and thus break the cycle of extreme poverty and maternal illnesses. Shazia will likely go on to finish her degree and be able to contribute to her family's economic situation. With eight people to support, her efforts will make an enormous difference. She is an example of how educating one girl is having a ripple effect on the entire family. 

Thank you.

Technology Empowerment
Technology Empowerment
Positive Learning Environment
Positive Learning Environment

 You make a difference in a country where a little bit goes a long way. Thank you.

As one student said, “I have some education now. I know how a young woman should live. I have dreams. Nothing stops me from wanting to be a doctor or teacher. I just want a buliding to go to school in. I am so happy it is coming. Right now we are in a temporary site. Forget all this talk about the Taliban coming back. Just focus on studying. We need female teachers and better study materials."

And while challenges can be found everywhere, incredible progress can too. And that is what you are part of: committed donors who want to see girls advance and realize hopes and dreams just like in America. In many of the schools we support the Ministry of Education in, students and teachers start a day of lessons that include Dari, English, religion, science, math, and life skills. 

According to the Deputy Minister for Education, rural villages—even those nearest the country’s capital—have trouble finding qualified female teachers. Of the 416 districts in Afghanistan, 166 have no women to teach the girls. We have answered this challenge by supporting a Teacher Training Center and helping transport 30 young women from insecure rural areas to the Center for training to learn how to teach. This is building capacity in rural villages where females will step into key leadership and teaching roles. 

 Your help is met by enthusiasm in the girls. Smiles and giggles meet visitors and our Afghan photojournalist catured wide eyed wonder in the attached photos. Curiousity about life in other places and an endearing sense of the possibilities for their own future were also part of the conversation.

There is of course, much more to do. And your support helps us do that. We continue to repair walls, latrines and roofs in conjunction with village councils and assist with clean water project in a rural area where a well went dry. 

40% of girls are in school nation-wide. But in rural areas, that figure is much lower and the literacy level is extremely low. That translates into this: you are helping educate the first girl in her family and maybe the only person in her family to learn to read and write. 

 With each step comes another strong step and desire for more learning. The support from their famlies to educate their daughters is very real. And the learning is really happening. That is truly a great source for hope for the future.

 

 

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Art Class
Art Class

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Organization Information

Sahar Education

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​sahareducation.org
Project Leader:
Ginna Brelsford
Seattle, WA United States
$96,032 raised of $99,000 goal
 
871 donations
$2,968 to go
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