Help Afghan Communities Help Themselves

by Afghan Institute of Learning

In May, 2011, with the support of the community, AIL opened the Gawhar Shad Begum Library and Research Center in Herat City.  This Library is located in the Gawhar Shad Mausolem in the historical Gawhar Shad Musalla complex that dates from the 15th century and is currently being rehabilitated.  Upon the opening of the library, the Manager of the Cultural Affairs Department in Herat requested that all teachers provide one book to the library.  Within days, they received more than 1,000 books from students and teachers at the Gawhar Shad High School in Herat.

The Afghan people are pulling together to rehabilitate their country and restore their ancient historical sites and shrines.  They desire to build a better, stronger and independent Afghanistan.

A unique attribute of AIL’s community-based education is its student-centered, interactive teaching method that fosters critical thinking. Traditionally, Afghan education has focused on rote memorization and lectures. AIL’s teacher training and subsequent monitoring and supervision program is the basis for its provision of high quality educational programs. AIL’s teaching method allows women and girls to speak up (many for the first time), ask questions, think creatively, and practice problem solving while learning the subject at hand.

The year 2010 began by AIL  supporting  10 Learning Centers in Herat, 13 in Kabul, and 2 in Pakistan; for a total of 25 Centers.   In March through May, AIL Herat began supporting three new Learning Centers; in Hazrat Bilal with 850 students (440 female) and in May both the Cultural Association (210 students, all female) and Obee District (78 students, all female) Centers made their debut.  Three more additions to the Kabul programs at Kariz-e-Mir (14 students, 6 female), Wardak (22 students, all female), and Logar (33 students, all female) were opened in areas with high levels of insecurity in December. Unfortunately, that poor security forced the temporary suspension of the Hindawan Center, but the staff, students, and community are looking forward to its reopening as soon as possible.  In Kabul, one of the Centers that provided high school level academic courses to only girls in Mir Bacha Kot was absorbed into another larger Center, and two other Centers in Nasir Khisraw Balkhi and Tolo-e-Mahtab were ready to be turned over to their local communities for program continuation.  In 2010, AIL’s Learning Centers provided an education to 21,870 students (68% female)!


Five Reasons to Celebrate

The year 2010 has been one of many challenges for people throughout the world. In Afghanistan, insecurity, violence, and poverty continue to threaten communities. But the people of Afghanistan are strong and hopeful, and they are working hard to overcome these challenges. At the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), we see it every day. You can help Afghans, particularly women and children, to create a better future for themselves and their families with a contribution to AIL through Global Giving.   


Looking back upon the year, what we focus on are our reasons to celebrate.

  • As a generous donor to AIL, you are a gift to us and to the people of Afghanistan. We thank you and they thank you!!!

In fact, you make all of the other reasons to celebrate possible.  Here is the rest of AIL’s top five reasons to celebrate in 2010:

  • Fatima’s story. Fatima is 22 is and has just graduated from Herat University and come to work with AIL. As a young girl, her school was closed by the Taliban.  She continued studying in one of AIL’s underground home schools and in 2002, reentered high school, graduated and went on to university. Today, her dream, we are humbled to learn, is to work for AIL. She said, “AIL works for people, AIL helps needy people and AIL works among people.  Also AIL’s wish is that Afghan woman and girls can support themselves and their families so the Afghan woman and girls are interested in this project.”
  • Each of the more than 7.9 million people (70% female) who have participated in AIL’s programs since 1996 is a reason to celebrate.  In spite of many challenges, they have chosen to improve their lives and their communities by attending AIL’s Teacher Training, Learning Centers, workshops, and schools; seeking health care and health education at AIL’s health clinics; or receiving AIL’s Community Health Workers into their homes.
  • AIL’s new gynecological and surgical hospital opened in October 2010. It is the only private women’s hospital in Herat province. To keep the reasons to celebrate continuing, fees paid by patients who can afford them will eventually help subsidize AIL’s services at community-based clinics.
  • The Cultural Association Center, a new Learning Center AIL opened in April 2010, located in a rural area about 50 km from Herat City.  The people of the area are very poor and primarily illiterate.  The community learned about AIL’s ability to help them offer educational opportunities to their citizens and worked together to build a small facility. Although all communities are involved in the establishment and sustainability of their centers, this rural area was able to rally its citizens to make this project a success. Through November, nearly 300 students, all of them female, have attended courses at the Center. Subjects included Arabic, Tailoring/Sewing, Math, and Literacy.


Your renewed support will help AIL and the Afghan people start 2011 with renewed hope. If you have not yet renewed your support for AIL, please donate today and tell a friend. Thank you and best wishes.

Grateful and Undaunted


At this time of year, we are reminded of our many blessings and how the people in our lives enrich us and bring joy to every day. All of us at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) are especially grateful to you, for your generous support of our efforts to help the people of Afghanistan overcome many challenges:  women are emerging from the darkness of illiteracy to a bright and hopeful future; rural Afghan villages are being empowered to provide education and health care for their children – boys and girls; young men and boys who were part of the violence are finding a reason to believe in peace. All of this and much more is possible because of your contribution. Thank you!


As you celebrate this Holiday Season and anticipate the approach of the New Year, we hope that you will think of us again and make another donation to help ensure AIL is able to continue our work. You have most likely heard that Afghanistan continues to suffer terrible insecurity and poverty. But AIL is undaunted by the headlines because we know that the people of Afghanistan are working hard every day to improve their lives and the future of their country. Together with the people of Afghanistan, we are confident because we know that people like you believe in us and stand by us.


When you make your donation, check out the Tribute Card and Gift Card options – and please tell a friend about AIL and encourage them to make a donation too.


No matter what our circumstances today, when we believe in each other and work together, we can be assured that tomorrow will be better. Seasons Greetings and thank you again.


Sakena Yacoobi

AIL Executive Director

In all parts of Afghanistan, people in the communities are helping each other to learn and study.  In the case of the following story, a wife helps her daughter to be able to study by talking to her husband:

The daughter of M. Akbar says, “I hoped to read news, magazines and the commercials of TV but my father didn’t let me at the AIL center near my house.  He said the girls should stay at home and take care of the house and cook for the men  When the daughters of my neighbors went to the AIL center to study,  I became hopeless and sad so I was trying and asked my mother to please give me an opportunity for studying.   My mother heard my sadness and went to my father and talked to him. After that, he gave me a chance for learning. I was so happy. I went to the learning center, and, in fact, AIL made my life and changed my life so that I can become part of society.”


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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
carolyn dunlap
Dearborn, Michigan United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 49 donors like you, a total of $4,818 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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