Tailoring: A Small-Business Skill for Afghan Women

by Afghan Institute of Learning

Dear Friends,

When a community asks for AIL to set up a Learning Center (LC) it is a requirement that the community are supportive of the idea both theoretically and practically. Centers only request what they want and can sustain. One of the most popular classes requested is sewing. Only with community involvement will these poorly educated or illiterate women be able to achieve success in learning new skills. Here is the story of how one community supported its center and its women in 2016.

“One of the local people who lives near the center is called Khalil. He has helped the center a lot. The center did not have a telephone line and we had internet problems so Khalil voluntarily gave his house phone line to the center and helped by holding internet classes and seminars and these continue today. Another man named Naser who has a house on the same road has helped too. He offered to put the course’s advertisement board on the roof of his home because it would be seen more easily. The board is still there today. One of the other neighbors allowed the center to use his house's wall as a board and to advertise its programs. Other families gifted useful informative books in Arabic to help students learn the language.    

Herat's Education Department cooperated with the center and provided the opportunity for the center to introduce its programs to the girls' high schools. From the other side of things 4 high schools assisted the center in showing its activities.”      

This is truly a community effort! This operational approach is what creates sustainable opportunity for poor women who are eager to learn sewing skills so they can earn money. In 2016, 16,197 females attended LCs under AIL management in Herat and Kabul Province and Peshawar, Pakistan.  2,222 women attended sewing classes during the year in Kabul and in December Herat reported that 812 women were in sewing classes, 11 carpet weaving, 76 weaving, 12 roman dozy and 68 in embroidery.

See our year end newsletter. Thank you for being part of the support for these centers and the women who rely on them.


Dear Friends,

Today is #GivingTuesday! $500,000 in Matching funds are available for donations made to all Creating Hope International and Afghan Institute of Learning projects on GlobalGiving. 

50% match up to $1,000 per individual donor per organization while funds last. In addition, new recurring donations up to $100 USD per month per unique donor per organization will have their initial donation matched at 200% on #GivingTuesday. Hurry up and donate!..Read our report below.

Sewing is one of those gateway skills for women in Afghanistan. Once they learn sewing then a doorway is opened for them. They can help their family finances by sewing their own clothes and start a small business sewing for others.

What it also means is that these women recover their self- esteem and identity as individuals who can learn, contribute and be part of society. Your support helps the 1,017 women who are learning sewing and changing their lives.

Here is a story from one center,” One of our sewing class students was absent from class  for a long time. When we investigated we found that her family didn’t allow her to come to the Learning Center. When we talked with her family they said that she can’t learn anything and her mind is not working. So the supervisor met her family and convinced them that she can learn and will be able to achieve a lot at the center. Now she is coming to center and  studying and becoming a skilled person. She is very enthusiastic and thankful to AIL staff for supporting her and talking with her family.



Dear Friends, 

AIL offers women and girls various courses at its Learning Centers (LCs)  to expand their skills and help them contribute more to their families and communities. These women gain knowledge that improves their lives and that of their families. One of the most popular skills to learn is sewing and currently there are 782 students in sewing classes in Herat Province and 177 in Kabul and other provinces. 

Upon completion of a sewing class, students can sew any kind of garment. They can make their own clothes as well as set up a small business making clothes for other people. This helps them become self- supporting and improves the economic situation of their families. As important, is the fact that these women gain self-confidence and see themselves as valuable and able to contribute to society. This sort of skills learning and change in mindset is a success for any LC. 

  One of students shares her success:“My name is Gul Nisa, I am one of the sewing class students. I learned sewing through AIL’s Learning Center. Today, I can sew dresses for my neighborhood and earn money. I never thought that one day I will be self supporting and able to help my family. I want to thank AIL for making my dream come true and I hope many future successes for them.” 

A bright and hopeful future for women Afghanistan! Thank you for your continued support of AIL programs. 


Dear Friends, 

TODAY June 15TH -9:00am ET TO 11:59pm! 50% Matching funds available for donations made to AIL projects on GlobalGiving.org! Donations up to $1,000 per individual donor per organization may be matched while funds available. The money runs out fast- so donate now!

Are you a UK donor? GlobalGiving.co.uk has its own bonus day. Donations up to £1,000 per donor per organization may be matched 50% while funds last. Match starts 14:00:01 BST on June 15th and ends at 4:59:59 BST on June 16th.  

AIL update

The AIL education program is going well and classes are being held at 43 Learning Centers (LCs) in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including 15 rural centers around Herat.   So far 13,888 students (including 9,044 females and 4,844 males) participated in Learning Center education.

Sewing is always a popular class and the Herat centers have 906 sewing students so far this year.  Here is a typical story from one center, “We could solve the family problem of two students this month.  One of them is a young woman; her husband is an opium user. He didn’t let his wife join the center.  But we talked with them and were able to get his agreement. After a lot of talk and face to face contact of the center’s manager and elders of the area he did agree with her.  Now the woman is learning in our center. She is very happy about this and thanked AIL staff for changing her life.” This story reflects the growing problem of opium addiction in the male population and its devastating consequences on both the men and the female members of their families. AIL's education program gives hope to women for the future and skills, such as sewing that they can use to earn some money to support their families.

TODAY, your donation can go further!  Donate between 9:00am and 11:59pm and help AIL continue its valuable work providing education.

Dear Friends,

AIL provides women and girls with skills to look after themselves and their families. Literacy is stressed but so is sewing as it is a means to earn an income. The Girls Orphanage Learning Center provides sewing classes. Here is Madina’s story:

“Madina is 9 years old.  She has been protected by AIL since she was 7 years old at the Ansar Female Orphanage. Madina says, "I am an orphan. My father used to be addicted and my mother had to earn the family income. She served in the other people’s houses.  After my father passed away, my mother was married again due to the financial problems and she left me at the orphanage. I suffered a lot and could not get along with others. I changed and became an isolated and withdrawn child who was unhappy with everything.  I felt that I was imprisoned in this environment. Time passed and gradually I got accustomed to my jail. Soon, a Learning Center was created by AIL in our orphanage. It contained some professional skills and other learning classes. I wanted to be literate one day so I  registered my name in the computer, English, and dressmaking classes. I became very happy. I made lots of friends and I loved my teachers who were very kind to us.Slowly my mood changed to positive. Then I enrolled in the government school. Those classes helped me to be busy and not miss my parents so much as there were many children in my situation who were orphaned too.”

When she ages out of the orphanage Madina will have a useful skill to earn money, namely sewing. She will also be literate and have numeracy and language skills, all of which will make her employable.

Thank you for your support for Madina and other girls like her.


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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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