Afghan Institute of Learning Empowers Afghan Women

by Afghan Institute of Learning
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


Women's Networking Movement

The Afghan Institute of Learning is very excited to have been given the opportunity to blog at Huffington Post! Our first blog about the Women’s Networking Movement taking place in some of AIL’s centers has been posted. The Women’s Networking Movement is taking place in about 30 of AIL’s centers, schools and clinics. The women coming to these centers are sharing thoughts and ideas in ways that have not been possible until recently. 

To learn more about the Women’s Networking Movement, check out our blog at Huffington Post

Creating Hope International, AIL’s partner, has set up a Facebook page where we will be sharing more news, pictures and information about AIL’s programs. Make sure that you ‘Like’ Creating Hope International on Facebook to get all the latest news! 


Girls at a Workshop
Girls at a Workshop

All of us at Creating Hope International (CHI) and the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) would like to thank all of our donors for a very successful year thus far. Every day AIL is bringing education and health care services to more and more Afghan women and children, increasing their quality of life and their standard of living. Women who participate in our learning center programs and the workshops we sponsor are becoming more independent, and are enabled to control aspects of their lives that they were powerless over previously. Without your support, none of this could be possible. 

In 2012, AIL held 96 workshops which hosted over 3,400 women, offering instruction on topics such as leadership, reproductive health, and social justice. AIL health clinics also offer services to Afghans at little to no cost to them, an amenity that is normally not available or accessible to women. Our leadership workshops and seminars encourage women to take the lead in their communities and their families. Young women are breaking the mold of traditional Afghan society and are administering programs, becoming teachers, and working for the government. Women are also taking their reproductive health into their own hands, learning and receiving proper prenatal care, learning methods child spacing, and having access to family planning services. Participants in the workshops also learn about social issues like human rights, democratic values, and the value of peace. Afghan women are changing their society from the bottom up and from within.

AIL learning centers held classes for 7,067 women and girls in January, 2013, which has shattered all of our previous attendance records. These numbers are expected to grow throughout the rest of the year. Women are taking classes in literacy, English, Arabic, math, and the sciences, all of which expand their minds and horizons, offering them insight as well as critical thinking ability. Women are also taking applicable training courses in weaving, tailoring, sewing, and macramé, all of which allow for them to earn an income by starting a business or working from home. In both cases, women are taking more control of their lives. These changes are very hopeful and we are optimistic that 2013 will be an even more successful year for Afghan women and girls. We could not have accomplished what we have without your support; we thank you all very much!

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) would like to wish you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons.  As you celebrate with those you love, please take a moment to look at CHI’s yearly newsletter, which we’ve attached to this report. As you will see, 2012 has been a transformative year for AIL and CHI. After years of working tirelessly to provide education, training and healthcare to Afghans, we are beginning to see a real change. The minds of those AIL works with are being opened to the possibility of a peaceful Afghan society. 

AIL is in the process of finalizing a 5 year funding plan, which will be put into place beginning in 2013. We are looking forward to sharing the details of this plan with you soon, and hope that you will find it in your heart to give generously to help us reach our goal. The people of Afghanistan are making great strides, but our work is not done yet. Instead of backing down, we need to push ahead and continue to give Afghans the tools they need to create a more peaceful country. We are hoping that we can count on you to help continue our work. 

The women are beginning to see that through education they can have a better life, and are insisting on educating their children. They are taking charge of their health, and we are seeing more and more women requesting workshops on pre-natal issues as well as reproductive health. AIL is encouraged to see so many Afghan women looking forward to a brighter future and is planning to be there to help the women lead the way to the Afghanistan of their dreams. 


Thank you for all you have contributed towards AIL’s goal of educating the women and children of Afghanistan. While the conditions in Afghanistan are still challenging, AIL is seeing positive changes in the lives of those Afghans that it works with. 

This year, AIL has had many exciting successes. Some of these include:

-        The expectant mothers workshops continue to be incredibly successful. To date, 413 women have participated in the workshops, 206 of whom were pregnant women, and 207 were their birth helpers. Of these, 118 reported back to AIL about their births and there was only stillbirth. This result is far below Afghanistan’s 10.3% infant mortality rate. While the purpose of this workshop was to educate women so that they could have a safer home birth, AIL has found that most women choose to deliver at a clinic after attending the workshop, which is unique in Afghanistan where most women will deliver at home.
-        AIL piloted a mobile literacy program where two classes of female students were given cell phones and taught to use them to supplement their learning in literacy classes. These girls were able to advance through three levels of literacy classes in only five months, a feat which normally takes 18 months.
-        AIL hosted a love and forgiveness conference in Afghanistan featuring the poetry of Rumi. This conference was so well received that AIL is now developing smaller workshops based on the conference. Many who heard about the conference are asking for AIL to host workshops on the subject in their village. AIL sees the impact that these workshops are having on the people of Afghanistan, especially the young people, and is excited to spread the message of love and forgiveness further.
-        AIL has received a donation from a corporate donor that has allowed us to begin teaching more advanced computer classes along with English classes. If the students understand English, they are enrolled in the computer class. If their English is not advanced enough, the students are enrolled in classes which will give them the skills they need to take the computer classes. So far this year, 758 students have participated in these new classes, 504 of whom were women.

Through August  2012 over 11,155 Afghans have attended classes in AIL’s schools and centers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 7503 of whom were women. AIL has provided workshops on topics such as leadership, health and human rights to 1147 Afghan women and girls. 579 female teachers have been trained in workshops offered by AIL. 101,597 patients have been treated in AIL’s clinics, the majority of whom are women and children. At these same clinics, 89,678 Afghans received health education through information at the clinics, workshops and information from Community Health Workers. 

AIL continues to offer education and health care to Afghan women and girls in a culturally sensitive manner. With your support, AIL is looking forward to being able to continue offering new and innovative programs to continue improving the lives of the women and girls of Afghanistan. 

Don’t forget!  The holidays are a great time to share your passion for AIL and the great work that they do! GlobalGiving offers gift certificates which can be used to donate to AIL’s projects. Also, beginning December 1st, the initial donation made by recurring donors will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving. There is only $25,000 available in matching funds, so help AIL take advantage of this opportunity early!


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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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