Afghan Institute of Learning Empowers Afghan Women

by Afghan Institute of Learning
Women in an AIL Computer Class
Women in an AIL Computer Class

Thank you so much for supporting the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)! As the situation in Afghanistan continues to develop and change, your support becomes more important than ever to helping AIL educate, train and provide healthcare to Afghan women. During the first 6 months of 2014, your support helped AIL to provide education to 9,456 Afghan women and girls in Learning Centers and schools in Afghanistan and the refugee camps of Pakistan. You also supported training in subjects such as leadership, peace, human rights and the election for 1,694 women and girls during this time period. Finally, nearly 84,000 women and girls have received healthcare and health education through AIL’s health programs.

The AIL Learning Centers offer a variety of classes, from literacy and math, to sewing and embroidery, English and Arabic, cosmetology and even computers! Recently classes of computer students were promoted to the next level in their studies. At the promotion ceremony, a young woman named Sima was thrilled to share that because of her computer skills, a construction company had hired her! Her husband is a day laborer, and is not able to earn enough to support his family. Now, thanks to the AIL computer class, she is able to work and earn an income. Sima realizes that she might face challenges being a woman working outside of the home, but feels that she is ready to face them. She said, “I know that I might face problems because I am a woman, and there are some who feel that a woman shouldn’t work outside the home, but I want to work and will ignore whatever is said about me. I thank AIL for giving me this chance to change my life.”

Another wonderful success story came from Farima, a woman who decided that she no longer wanted to be illiterate. She came to AIL’s literacy classes, and after 6 months was able to read and write. Soon, a relative hired her to work in their supermarket. She is so pleased to be able to help support her family. Farima says “AIL has changed my life. Before attending the AIL literacy class, I stayed home every day and wasted my time. I lost so many chances in my life because I was not educated, but now, because I learned to read and write I have a job. Now, I can read, write and communicate with all sorts of people.”

We want to thank you again for your generous support of AIL and our programs that empower Afghan women. We hope that you are inspired by the hard work and determination of Sima and Farima and will share the stories of Sima and Farima with your friends and family. Thank you again for your support.

Stills from the Music Video
Stills from the Music Video

Let’s put our hands together, let’s get together.

Our hands hold our votes and our votes hold our future.


My fellow citizen It’s my vote, it’s your vote

It’s a privilege for enduring peace

My dear fellow citizen, with our vote leadership is in our hands.

             On April 5th, an historic election was held in Afghanistan. Over 7 million voters participated, and the elections were generally a peaceful affair. We at AIL hosted election workshops leading up to the vote, and asked the managers of our Learning Centers to educate students at the centers about why the vote was important, what steps they needed to take in order to vote, how to research and select candidates, and how to vote.

            The effort to encourage Afghans to vote was not limited to our workshops and Learning Centers however. At a private school owned by Dr. Sakena Yacoobi (our CEO) the Arts and Culture Teacher, Mehrjui, set a poem she had written about the election to music. The song encourages all Afghans to become aware of their responsibilities, to select a good candidate for President and to vote. The PSYPS Arts and Culture students sang this song at a celebration on International Women’s Day as well as at our election workshops. The song was incredibly well received, moving many in the audience.

            The students, staff, and administration at the school quickly realized how powerful their song was, so with the help of the AIL Academic Advisor and the AIL video production team, they set about recording their song so that it could be shared with a wider audience. They had no idea how popular the song was about to become.

            The song quickly went viral, being aired on Afghanistan’s National TV station, as well as on eleven other stations. The song has been played many times over and candidates running for president even asked if they could buy the song to use in their campaign. The PSYPS students and staff declined to sell the song, deciding the purpose of the song was to encourage all Afghans to participate in the elections, not to support just one candidate.

             As Afghanistan moves closer to a runoff election this summer, the song continues to be played on the radio and the video over the airwaves. In short, the song continues to encourage Afghans to participate in the upcoming elections and to make sure their voices are heard.

             We encourage you to take a moment to view the video made by the students, to read the lyrics below and to see the hope in these young people’s faces. After watching, we hope that you will stand with the youth of Afghanistan, and join us as we work with them to create a peaceful future for their nation. 

(Chorus Song)

Let’s put our hands together, let’s get together.

Our hands hold our votes and our votes hold our future.


With one vote, we can be our sultan, our voice

For a better choice for a better leader


My fellow citizen It’s my vote, it’s your vote

It’s a privilege for enduring peace

My dear fellow citizen, with our vote leadership is in our hand


My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!

With the name of God, we speak from the power of our thoughts

From our decision, unity, humanity and right

No longer speak of suicide bombing, explosion, but of creativity and pride

Don’t speak of the hills under the thorn

Speak of the friendship of verdant soil and the rose garden

Speak of spring, spring and spring



Let’s hope that this spring Afghanistan will turn into a magnificent garden. A garden in which the smell of every rose invites the world for a spectacle.

Let’s hope for a different spring, for a different year and for a different Afghanistan

Don’t forget my fellow citizen, our rendezvous is in front of ballot boxes on April 5, 2014


(Chorus Song)

Our choice is the remedy

Our choice is for the day of rendezvous

Who we want will be crowned sultan


My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!


Attend the opportunity with passion and turn the enemies into wretches

This colored finger is the guiding path and this fist is the hummer for the oppressor


My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!


Women in a workshop
Women in a workshop

Hello everyone! Thanks to you, our donors, AIL had a very successful 2013 in terms of bringing education and empowerment to Afghan women and girls. More than 9,800 female students took classes at AIL Learning centers, and over 7,000 were adolescent or teen girls. Popular classes included literacy, tailoring, computers, English, Arabic, math, and science. Your support really helped to make these classes available to the hungry minds of Afghan women, women who really want to become independent and start their own careers to provide for their families, or to become leaders in their communities.

Your support made AIL able to host many leadership workshops, which saw nearly 1,500 women participate. These leadership workshops provide young women with information on what makes a good leader, how to become empowered, and how to become a leader in the home and in their community.  Another 1,300 women took part in AIL’s numerous health workshops, including workshops for expectant mothers, nutrition education, and reproductive health, giving them knowledge and a say in matters of health.

One of the participants from a leadership workshop we held in December had this to say about her experience:

“Without any exaggeration, this workshop was the best, the most efficient, and excellent workshop that I have ever attended. This workshop was full of content and it made me aware that I could reach my full potential in order to be a good leader in the future. It encouraged me to use my capabilities. In the future I want to work on women against violation issues. I want to be a great leader among the women teach them awareness and importance of education.”

We would like to thank you so much for your support of the Empowers Afghan Women program. Without supporters like you, we couldn’t have accomplished what we have or what we plan to do in the future. Thank you!!

Women in a Leadership Workshop
Women in a Leadership Workshop

AIL’s mission is to empower women through education enabling women and girls to take control of their lives. Farzana is one of girls empowered by AIL.  Here is her story: 

My name is Farzana. I am 17 years old. I come from a poor family in Herat City. I had never had the chance to study in my childhood; the same with other girls my age. Before attending this literacy class, I was a student in sewing class. I heard about a literacy class and immediately enrolled my name in that class. I learned how to read and I learned social skills such as finding friends, contacting with members of family and community. I am going to talk with my father and persuade him let me go to school and make a bright future. I hate ignorance. I want to enjoy myself. I want to thank  AIL staff, especially experienced teachers, who helped me change my life."  

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!


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Organization Information

Afghan Institute of Learning

Location: Dearborn, Michigan - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Sakena Yacoobi
Dearborn, Michigan United States

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