Tailoring: A Small-Business Skill for Afghan Women

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Tailoring Student
Tailoring Student

Hi everyone! AIL is off to a great start this New Year, with thousands of new students enrolling in the learning centers and participating in AIL workshops and seminars. Your donations made it possible for 944 total women to be enrolled in tailoring classes in January. These are women who are really enthusiastic about learning a new skill to help them financially support their families. 

In December, one of AIL’s centers saw 22 women graduate from AIL’s tailoring courses. Many of them started their own businesses and are becoming more and more independent and have become able to provide for their families. These women will hire other women in their community, boosting not only the local economy but also helping to provide financial support for other women and their families.

AIL offers training opportunities for women who are professional tailors (most of whom were trained by AIL) to become teachers for tailoring classes offered in the Learning Centers. One of AIL’s newest tailoring teachers had this to say:

I am a tailor. I am very satisfied from my profession because it brings income to me and I can help others learn this profession. I want to help women become tailors because it has helped me.”

Again, we’d like to thank you so much for your support of our Tailoring program. This program would not be possible without donors like you. We hope that you find this partnership worthwhile, so many women are bettering their lives by taking these classes and learning how to become self-reliant. Thank you!!

Tailoring Student
Tailoring Student
Sewing Course
Sewing Course

AIL’s tailoring classes are very popular in our learning centers. The women who take the classes learn a skill to help their families earn a living. They also serve as a model for their community. The whole community sees how the women’s lives have improved and want to improve their own through education. Karima, a mother of three, described her successes with AIL’s tailoring classes: 

I am 30 years old. I am married and I have three children. I have been a student for nine months and now I am able to sew professionally. I have already rented a small shop near my house and now I operate a sewing machine there. A lot of young girls order their clothes to be tailored there and I am earning money to help my husband pay the expenses. 

We thank you all for your generous support! Please take some time to check out our annual newsletter attached to this report. 


Dear GlobalGiving Donors,

Thank you so much for supporting the Afghan Institute of Learning’s (AIL) various projects on GlobalGiving. Over the years, the Global Giving donors have become invaluable to AIL. Through your generous support, AIL has been able to provide Afghans with education, health care, training and more.

It is your continued support that is now allowing AIL to evolve along with the young people of Afghanistan. We’d like to share with you the story of how one young woman’s life has been changed thanks to one of AIL’s programs:

I am a 19-year-old woman with two children. I had always wanted to go to school and learn to read, but there was not a school close to my home. It was not safe for me to try and travel to another village to go to school, but I always told myself that if I could go to school, I would be able to get a job and reach my goals.

It was painful to me when my brother learned to read and write, but I couldn’t. One day I watched some women and children who were going somewhere. When I saw that one of them was a woman who had an 8-year-old girl with her, I stopped her and said “Excuse me. Where are you going?” She answered, “A learning center has been established for illiterate women and their children recently. I am going to register myself and my children.”

When I heard this, I was so happy and I said to her, “Please wait a minute. I want to go with you and start to take classes too.” I joined them on their way to the learning center. When we arrived, I was so excited because I saw a lot of women there who had been learning.

Now, I can read and write and I can say proudly that I am literate. I have also learned to be healthy and to be a leader. I am reaching out and touching my wishes and goals. I thank AIL for this opportunity to reach my goals.

Thank you for the support that you give to AIL. We are so grateful to all of our supporters for their continued support of our projects on GlobalGiving. Thank you!

An AIL Sewing Course
An AIL Sewing Course

All of us at Creating Hope International (CHI) and the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) want to thank our donors for supporting tailoring programs for Afghan women. Your support is giving Afghan women the opportunity to learn a skill that will help them earn money for their families. Through July, we have hosted 88 tailoring classes and provided months of instruction to over 1,800 women. Many of these women have left the learning centers with a skill-set that will help them to clothe their families and feed them through earning money by  sewing clothes for others.  It will also give them something to be proud of; they will be able to create something that others will want to use or buy.   

One of our learning centers in a rural part of Herat province offers sewing courses to the women in the area. One of the women who took a tailoring course here had this to say:

"The first day I came here, I didn’t even think of finishing this class and becoming a professional tailor. I didn’t have self-confidence and I thought it was impossible. But as time passed, I became interested and learned a lot in the class. Teachers encouraged me everyday and I had the talent to finish and become a professional tailor. Thanks to all the personnel for providing women such facilities."

This is but one story amongst many similar success stories. Women are told they can’t do it, but they do and become breadwinners in their households. AIL learning centers offer many such specialization courses in subjects that provide applicable skills to the people who take them, including courses in computers, art, and carpet weaving. Like these other programs, our tailoring courses reach a large number of people all across Afghanistan and provide the necessary skills to make women more independent. We thank you all very much for your support, we greatly appreciate it!

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi receiving her hood at Princeton
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi receiving her hood at Princeton

So many wonderful things have happened for the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) in the last few weeks, and we’re very excited to share a few of them with you. 

First, on Tuesday the Executive Director of AIL, Sakena Yacoobi received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Princeton University. The official citation reads:

With a profound reverence for the well-being of others, this visionary leader devotes her life to the empowerment of poor Afghan women and children. With an unwavering commitment to social justice, against all odds, and often at great personal risk, she built and sustains an institute that makes healthcare and education possible for the most vulnerable. It owes its success in establishing clinics, teaching children, and training educators and caregivers to the deep and lasting ties she has forged with the people she serves and with global communities of care. After decades of work, she is still creating hope, in her home country and throughout the world. 

Additionally, AIL has had two articles posted at The Huffington Post. The first focuses on AIL’s belief that Education Is the Way to a Healthier Country

The second article details AIL’s Mobile Literacy Program, giving details of how adding texting to a traditional literacy curriculum helped to accelerate the pace of learning. 

Finally, tomorrow is a Global Giving Matching Day, and because AIL is a superstar partner, all donations will be matched at 50%! Matching will begin at 9:00 am EST and funds generally run out after just a few hours.To select a project that you might like to donate to, visit AIL’s page on GlobalGiving



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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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