Tailoring: A Small-Business Skill for Afghan Women

by Afghan Institute of Learning

Dear Friends,

Bonus Day September 16th!  30% matching funds available for this project!

Can you help?

Donate between 9am- midnight ET September 16th and get a 30% match up to $1,000 per donor per organization! The funds will go quickly!

Thank you for your support of AIL’s efforts to teach women and girls sewing and tailoring skills. During the month of July, there were more than 800 women and girls enrolled in the Afghan Institute of Learning’s sewing and tailoring courses. 

In our classes, the students learn sewing and tailoring of course, but they also learn to make their own patterns and designs, as well as basic business skills to help these women and girls start earning an income. Many of the women and girls choose to take literacy classes while they are taking their sewing course, and this combination gives students a chance at a better life.

One student story is that of Azita.

Some years ago, Azita began studying at one of AIL’s rural centers. There were no schools for girls in her area, so her uncle encouraged her to begin attending the AIL Learning Center that he supervised. She began taking sewing and tailoring classes at the center and also decided to study in the literacy class.  She quickly learned tailoring but it was clear early on that Azita was a very bright young woman. She was the top student in her class, quickly progressing to the fourth level of the literacy . While she was taking classes, things were changing; a local school opened and was looking for teachers. “I heard that the regular school in the village needed teachers,” Azita says, “so I took the exam for teachers and I passed! I was soon hired to be a teacher at the school. I began teaching the younger grades while still taking classes at the AIL Learning Center. One day I decided to take the exam to attend the high school courses at the regular school where I was teaching and I was accepted into the 9th grade.”

“My parents saw my amazing progress and made the decision to send me to the large city to live with an uncle so that I could have a better opportunity to continue my education. Now I am in one of the top high schools in the city, and I am the top student in my class. I help my uncle’s family around the house, and once a month I return to my village to visit my family. They are so proud of me and how educated I am, and it is all because of the AIL Learning Center in my village. It changed the direction of my life completely.”

Today Azita is a sophomore studying English at a university in Afghanistan, where she has made a number of new friends. She is also a part time English teacher at a school near her university. She is involved in activities on campus including being a member of a student council and is on the staff of the university’s magazine. She continues to attend AIL workshops as she is able, and is even taking an advanced computer course.

When asked about the way that education has impacted her life, Azita said, “I enjoy living and my work today, and that is because of the education I have received. I started with sewing, but look what happened!!!  I have decided that I want to be a good teacher to help the women from my village to become capable and to change their lives for the better. I do not want to see them suffer disappointment and depression. I plan to be a leader for the women of my village, and to defend their rights in the community. I have  great ambition for my people, and for my own life, and I would like to thank AIL for changing my life.” 

Thank you for your continued support of AIL’s programs, and of women like Azita. We appreciate your generous donations.

Students in an AIL Program
Students in an AIL Program
Dear Friends, 
Thank you so much for all of your support of the Afghan Institute of Learning! We value your support and are grateful to you for taking an interest in those less fortunate in a far off land. You are helping to improve the lives of thousands of Afghans each year through our health, education and training programs. We are writing today to share our annual report with you, highlighting the many achievements of AIL and the impact on the lives of beneficiaries that you have supported. We hope that you will take a few minutes to view the report by clicking the link below and learn about the many ways you helped Afghans through AIL's innovative programming.


AIL Sewing Teacher with her Students
AIL Sewing Teacher with her Students

Dear Friends,

One of AIL’s newest Learning Centers is inside a women’s prison in Afghanistan. The teachers are working with the women to encourage them to gain skills and knowledge that will help them to provide for their families after they leave the prison, including teaching them to sew and tailor clothing. One of the students said the following,

“I’m a student in the sewing class at the women’s jail. Because of a mistake I made a year ago, they put me in jail. I thought that it would be the worst place in the world, so difficult and disappointing. I was not getting out for a long time, and I had no skills. During the first two or three months after coming to the prison, I was so depressed and several times I decided to commit suicide, and then one day I found out about the sewing class being taught by AIL. When I started coming to the class, I didn’t expect much from it and I wasn’t very interested, but I kept attending. After a month I realized that I had learned some skills and became interested and hopeful. I saw that having this skill could change my future and after a while I learned to sew well. I am still working very hard and learning new things. I am seriously considering making a living by sewing after I get out of  prison, which is soon. I would like to thank AIL. Thank you very much for giving me such a chance. I can’t imagine what my life might be like without this. AIL rescued me.”

For many Afghan women, learning to sew gives them a new chance at life, and the opportunity to support their families. We are so grateful to you for supporting our efforts!!

Students in an AIL sewing course
Students in an AIL sewing course

Dear Friend,

A Special Day – Today!  Matching Funds Available!

Today we have a great opportunity which we would like your help with. There are matching funds available for ALL donations made to this project today. This is a guaranteed bonus!

Starting at 9am EDT on May 13th, GlobalGiving is matching donations on our project! Any online donation up to $1,000 made today will go even further to help our work. You can donate any time between 9am EDT and midnight to have your donation partially matched by GlobalGiving –guaranteed! Just click here and support our program on May 13th.

The percentage of the match will be determined at midnight; the more given today the greater our bonus!

Your donation will help AIL offer classes to women like Zahra. Zahra came to an AIL Learning Center to enroll her children in classes at the center and saw that there were many women her age taking classes. She spoke with the women who told her that the center offered great classes for women. Her husband was against the idea at first, but she enrolled anyway. They had many disagreements about her taking classes, but Zahra’s husband was soon convinced that the classes were a good idea after the young women learned to sew and was able to start a small businesses sewing clothing for other families.

Zahra said “I am now so happy that I have a skill. My husband is very happy as well. He has seen that I have learned this skill in a sound, safe and good educational environment. The class has been helpful in other ways too. I have made friends, and learned so much about how to keep my children healthy. I am so thankful to AIL for offering me the opportunity to support myself and my family and changing my life for the better.”

 Please help by donating  to our project today, May 13th. Thank you.

Sewing Students
Sewing Students

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your support of the Afghan Institute of Learning’s sewing and tailoring programs! Each year, thousands of Afghan women and girls come to AIL’s Learning Center to take classes in tailoring and sewing, enabling them to earn an income and support their families.

Hasina is one such girl. Hasina has two younger sisters. Her father was a farmer, working on the farms of others to earn an income for his family, but then he became sick and is no longer able to work. Hasina was searching for a job when a friend told her about the AIL Learning Center near her village. She was immediately interested and registered for sewing and literacy classes at the Center. Hasina’s teachers report that she was one of the hardest working students in the class and graduated from the sewing class in nine months.

Today, Hasina is a professional tailor, and is able to earn an income that supports her family. She says, “I believe that all of my achievements are because of AIL who established this center in a remote area. I owe my life to them. They really changed my life and the life of my family. I now encourage other women to get educated as well.”

Each year, thousands of women and girls just like Hasina come to AIL Learning Centers to learn to sew. In Afghanistan, buying clothing off the rack is too expensive for most people to afford. It is common for people to either sew their own clothing, or if they are unable to sew, to hire someone to do it for them. The ability to sew is a highly valued skill in Afghan society, one that gives the women a steady income while also saving them the money they would have spent on clothing for their own families.

Thank you for understanding the value of this program, and for choosing to support it! 


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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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