From January to June of 2008 the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) has supported 37 Educational Learning Centers (ELC’s) and Women’s Learning Center’s (WLC’s) in 5 provinces of Afghanistan and in Peshawar, Pakistan serving 11,530 Afghan men, women and children. 65% of those served were female. The level of class run by the center varies from pre-school to university students.
AIL has also supported 3 health clinics in Herat and Kabul, Afghanistan. These three clinics have seen 63,345 patients during the first 6 months of 2008, the majority of whom are women and children. 9,347 of those seen were reproductive health patients. The clinic vaccinated 17,977 women and children during the first 6 months of 2008. The clinics also provide health education seminars and workshops to women. From January to June 2008 31,563 women have taken part in health education workshops.
Many of the women that take classes from AIL’s ELC’s and WLC’s do so in order to learn to read or write, support their family or to learn skills that will help them to acquire a job.
Following is a story from a 28 year old women who graduated from one of AIL’s tailoring classes that shows the value of not only the tailoring program, but the center’s as a whole:
“When I was in Iran 2 years ago, I was concerned about what will happen to me when I return to my country. Would I be able to go in school or some educational center to be an educated person like Iranians? But when we came back to our country and moved to this village, after a short time, I found the AIL center and lots of women going and coming from this center. I felt that it is the best place for the improvement of women who want to learn some thing. I went there and enrolled in literacy, tailoring and holy Quran classes. I have attended these three classes in one center and was very happy because every day, I met at least 400 women from my community. And the quality of this center was very good because the teachers were updated by AIL through providing seminars and training. So the methods they taught were the best and students learned very fast. Today after 2 years, I have completed the 5th grade of literacy, Holy Quran and the sewing course. I feel I am very lucky to have this opportunity to learn these all things and now I can work to support my family. I can read the magazine, newspaper and also I can help my children in their lessons and home work.”
A young girl named Parmila says, “I am really happy with the Women’s Learning Center that I attend. It is a good and safe educational environment for females. Before the establishment of this center here, the society of this area was against the girl's education. But fortunately the center has done a great deal to change their minds. My parents have not allowed me to go to school and it was very hard for me that my rights have not given to me. So when my parent saw that many women and girls go to the Women’s Learning Center without any problem and all the teachers there are female, they allowed me to go to this center. After some time they took another positive step and told me to get admission in the regular school too. Now I am in grade 7th and I understand if the Women’s Learning Center had not been established here, I and many other girls would remain illiterate people in the society. If that were to happen, this society would never change their mind regarding their girls’ education.”
Zareen a student in the literacy class said: “When I got engaged I was in 3rd class and when I got married I was just 16 years old after that my husband continued his education but his parents didn’t give me permission to continue my classes. I argued many times with my husband to get permission from your parents for me. After long time, they gave me permission to go and I went to Majoba Herawi center. Now I am in class 8th and I am very happy to be able to solve my and my family problems. Now my husband is in London and I can write letters to him. My mother in law says to me thanks to God you have become educated and can solve our family problems. Now all my husband’s family members take advice from me as an educated woman to help solve their problems.”
Here is the story of a woman who came to AIL’s clinic after struggling to become pregnant for 25 years: “Habiba came to the clinic 9 months ago; and said that she had amenorrhea. I referred her to the clinic laboratory for a pregnancy test. The result of lab was positive. I congratulated her but she was upset because 25 years ago she got married and had been pregnant 17 times but unfortunately all of them miscarried. I did not think that this pregnancy would be full term as before. Again I referred her to complete all the tests and fortunately all the results were normal. She had a stepdaughter. I give hope to her that this time she would have a safe delivery and her own baby. I advised her to have monthly visits at the clinic. She was given Healthy Mom and Ferfolic. When she passed the seventh month of pregnancy she suffered from hypertension and pedal edema. I referred her to the laboratory for urine analysis test. The result of her examination was proteinurea; I took management of her. Weekly she has come to the clinic for follow up; her blood pressure was under control. A night she was going to have delivery and her family took her to the hospital for delivery. She gave birth 25 years of marriage. Two days later she came to the clinic with her baby; she was very happy and appreciated me and services of the Imam Shish Nur clinic. I was thrilled to see her with her baby. It was one of my best memories. She said I can't believe that after all this time I have a child.”