A Letter from the Director of the Afghan School Project

December 20th, 2016 No comments

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

Ten years ago, I received this picture from Kandahar – the first women using the computer lab at the Afghan Canadian Community Center (ACCC). Weeks later, classes were underway and enrollment was building.

Ten years of women’s education, in the birthplace of the Taliban.

Those years were challenging. We navigated a conservative culture, death threats and even assassination attempts against the Director, Ehsanullah Ehsan, only to find ourselves confounded by funding shortfalls, fifty-page grant applications and miles of red tape.

But we carried on – with thousands of graduates and a source of income for more than ten thousand residents, more than 1% of Kandahar Province.

All from this small, grassroots project.

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This year presented a new challenge, as our large-donor funding dried up once more. To survive, the ACCC had to shrink significantly, closing the door on many brave, deserving and eager-to-learn students.

Your donations to last year’s Dare to Learn Campaign are the reason many women were able to continue learning. Your generosity kept the door open for them, raising $50,000 in scholarships. I’d particularly like to thank those who supported the recent campaign by Mr. David Belluz. Your help came at a critical time.

The Dare to Learn campaign was led by a former student, Maryam, who hopes we can do it again together this year. (Read more from Maryam below.) With your support, the women can continue to learn, graduate, get good jobs, and have their classes filled by the next round of eager students.

Now operating at a smaller level, ACCC/KIMS can remain sustainable with the help of individuals like you and a few small charities – without having to rely on fluctuating large-donor funding.

Thanks to you, we’ve had so many accomplishments this year – the graduation of more than 130 students, new international online classes offered by Pax Populi, Peace Day celebrations, and the ’16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women’ campaign.

But we need your help to continue in 2017. Please donate here to help fund a further 20 scholarships as part of our 12 Days of Learning, where you’ll offer hope to students such as Suhila at a cost of just $30 per month:

Suhila is 25 years old, and works as a teacher at the local high school. She currently attends one class at the ACCC, but would also like to also join the Skype and Computing classes. She hopes to one day train the future leaders of Afghanistan, to help the country move toward peace.  Suhila’s favorite food is hamburgers, and the people she admires most are her parents for supporting her interest in education. To her supporters, she says: “Thank you very much.” 

All donations are eligible for a Canadian tax receipt.

Thank you so very much for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Ryan Aldred
Director, Afghan School Project
President, Canadian International Learning Foundation

Links in Plain Text:

The ‘Dare to Learn’ Campaign – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/dare-to-learn/

A Letter from Maryam, the former Kandahar student leading our ‘Dare to Learn Fundraiser’

December 20th, 2016 No comments

Maryam

 

The first school I attended had no building, no desks, and no books. We sat outside and huddled around a board that leaned against rocks. Every day that I attended school, I was at risk of being attacked by the Taliban, but I loved learning, so I went to school anyway. I worked very hard and I learned to read and write in Afghanistan’s two official languages, Pashto and Dari.

I excelled at all subjects and fortunately, when I was 13 years old, I had the opportunity to attend school at the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre (ACCC), so I could learn English and how to use computers. I knew that this modern school was my best chance to give me the skills I needed to make change in my country. I wanted more than anything else for women’s equality in Afghanistan to become a reality.

The opportunity to help Afghan women came to me sooner than expected as I was hired by the Canadian Forces to interpret for Afghan women within less than a year. I was putting my life at risk by choosing to work for the Canadian Forces because the Taliban had been very clear that any Afghan working for NATO would be killed.  I put my fears aside and chose to work for the sake of a better future for Afghan women.

Through my work as an interpreter for NATO, Canadian development officers were able to hear directly from Afghan women for the first time, and were therefore able to direct financial aid to areas where it was most needed. I oversaw gender projects, and provided interpretation for training sessions, interviews, conferences and female councils, throughout Kandahar.

Because of the ACCC’s education program for women, their work enabled me to improve the lives of women in Kandahar, and now, I am living in Canada, studying political science and international relations at Carleton University in Ottawa. After I complete my education in Canada, I will return to Afghanistan where I plan to serve my country as a politician who improves the lives of all Afghans, including women.

The ACCC has made achieving my dreams possible, and it has done the same for thousands of other Afghan women. It has changed their lives for the better by giving them options and opportunities. We can have careers, become entrepreneurs, earn our own money, and support our families, all while instilling in the next generation the value of education and hard work.

Last year 2015, I launched Dare to learn Campaign to raise $100.000 for the school and I was able to raise $50,000 with generous support of Canadian public to keep the school open for a while until Canadian government made their decision but unfortunately they refused to fund the school. I still want to hit the goal of $100,000 and would highly appreciate any generous support to the Afghan Canadian Community Centre to make sure Afghan women keep getting education.

To help, please donate here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/dare-to-learn/

Sincerely,

Maryam Naquibullah

Write Your Member of Parliament to Express Your Support for ACCC / KIMS

December 8th, 2015 No comments

Please see below for a stock letter that you can send to your Member of Parliament to express your support for the Afghan-Canadian Community Center and its sister organization the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies. We would encourage you to personalize this letter and to change it however you see fit.

To find your MP’s name and address, please click here.

Thank you.


 

I live in your riding and am writing to ask for your support for a recent grant application submitted to Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. The grant was submitted under the Promoting the Advancement of Women and Girls’ Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan program.

The Afghan non-government organization (NGO) involved is well-respected in Kandahar and internationally. They have an incredible track record in providing effective, career-oriented women’s education. They are well-run, incredibly cost-effective, and previous recipients of Government of Canada grants. All in all, it’s hard to imagine a better fit for the current government grant.

The NGO I’m referring to is the Afghan Learning and Development Organization (ALDO), part of the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies and the Afghan Canadian Community Center. The specific program related to the grant application is called the Women’s Skills for Rights and Empowerment Program (WSRE). From the beginning in 2006, ALDO has partnered with the volunteer-run registered Canadian charity called the Canadian International Learning Foundation.

Essentially, ALDO’s main project is a single school in Kandahar. Through slowly building its community relationships and reputation, it has grown from educating a handful of brave women in 2006 to now educating 1,500 students annually. Most of those students are female teens and young adults, and they consistently go on to get good jobs and support 4 family members each, on average.

Through this network of graduates and family members, ALDO has now helped 1% of Kandahar province, an amazing accomplishment for one school and a Government of Canada investment of $545,000 to date.

Through its students’ achievements, it has also made a profound statement to the community about the value of women’s education and of women overall. Gone are the days of the school’s director having to beg families to send their daughters to class.

Supporting ALDO’s Women’s Skills for Rights and Empowerment Program (WSRE) would not only provide multi-year funding to support more women’s education, it would also provide Canadians the chance to get involved in the Government of Canada’s international development activities and to learn the skills needed to play an active role in advancing the cause of education around the globe. Through online volunteering, Canadians can interact with ALDO and its students, helping them build their English, communication and other skills.

I ask that you please contact the Hon. Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to ask that she give ALDO’s Women’s Skills for Rights and Empowerment Program serious consideration. The proposed $5 million grant represents a small fraction of the Government of Canada’s total Afghan spending, but has the potential to be a lasting pillar of Canada’s legacy in Kandahar, and in Afghanistan as a whole. With the school’s strong track record and excellent reputation both in Kandahar and internationally, it represents a low-risk, high-return investment in the lives of Afghan women.

For more information, please contact the Canadian International Learning Foundation at staff@canilf.org or (613) 503-5349. For your reference, I am personally involved with this organization as their President.

For a few examples of past media coverage, highlighting the invaluable role that the Government of Canada can play in promoting a more peaceful and prosperous future for Canadians and people around the world, please see:

– Teaching for a Nation’s Future – National Post, Oct 17th 2011 – http://news.nationalpost.com/news/educating-for-a-nations-future

– Afghanistan Girls School – Al Jazeera, 9 Jun 2010 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AsHVKCOmw8

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Former Student Maryam Naqibullah Launches ‘Dare to Learn’ Fundraising Campaign

December 7th, 2015 No comments

I am thrilled to announce that this year’s fundraiser will be run by Maryam Naqibullah, a former student of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center now living in Canada.

This campaign could not have come at a more important time – government funding for the Afghan-Canadian Community Center and its sister organization, the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, came to an end earlier this fall. I regret to say that, without renewed support from our donors or from the Government of Canada, ACCC / KIMS will be forced to close within a few short months.

Please read below for a letter from Maryam about this campaign. If you’d like to help, we’d encourage you to donate or to write your Member of Parliament via our easy-to-use online tool.


 

MaryamMy name is Maryam Sahar Naqibullah, a 21-year-old female and former Afghan interpreter for the Canadian Forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan. I now live in Ottawa studying for a double major in International Relations and Security at Carleton University. As the first member of my family to achieve literacy in any language and attend university, I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the Canadian people (through the Canadian Government) and the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) in Kandahar where I was educated.

As the youngest and only female interpreter for the Canadian Forces, I was granted permanent residence in Canada in 2011 as part of the Afghan Interpreter Immigration Program. I was accepted into Carleton University in 2013 and attend part time while juggling numerous other commitments that include working as a learning advisor for the Ministry of Defence.

I am testament to the success of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan and the critical importance of educating women. I was raised in Afghanistan during the time of the Taliban and was only able to attend schools like the ACCC and get educated because of the Canadian mission. I hope to return to Afghanistan and play an active role in politics continuing the work started by Canada to improve the life and opportunities of Afghan women.

The ACCC was started in 2006 with funding from individual Canadian donors and the Canadian International Development Agency. The school has been educating women in Kandahar with the help of the Canadian International Learning Foundation and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. As the only girls’ school it provides over 1,100 women students in Kandahar a shot at creative and innovative skills and employment-oriented education in Business Management, Communication, Information Technology and English language training.

The skills that women in particular obtain at the ACCC help them enhance their roles in Kandahar’s communities, increase their participation in social, political and business activities, and improve their political and socio-economic standing within Kandahar’s deeply conservative society. After women graduate from ACCC, their capabilities and skills allow them to make independent decision, secure better employment and provide the key necessities of life not just for themselves, but for their communities and families as well. In return, women have an increased role and influence in both social and political life in the society.

People from different age groups and backgrounds have benefited and continue to benefit from ACCC’s educational programs. The students come from local high schools, universities and from various communities in Kandahar. To some women, the ACCC is the only school they can turn to if they want to learn new skills currently in demand by civil society and local economy. To others, it is the only education they receive.

Since ACCC opened, more than 2300 women graduated. Over 700 graduates have secured employment or promotions, providing a source of livelihood for an estimated 14,000 Kandahar residents. Most of the women working in professional jobs in Kandahar are graduates of the ACCC. Around 180 women were enabled to secure scholarships and study at English medium universities both inside and outside Afghanistan. The reality is that none of these accomplishments would have been possible without the success of ACCC.

ACCC is the largest community learning institution in southern Afghanistan that has been able to regularly attract and keep large numbers of women students, who risk themselves to get education and modern skills outside their oppressive home environments. The skills taught by ACCC greatly improve graduates’ leadership, confidence-building, public speaking, critical thinking, and employment prospects. The model that ACCC utilizes is both simple and effective – it is a technologically savvy, internet-enabled community educational institution managed within Kandahar existing cultural and traditional values and led by the local community, supported by a wide range of international volunteers and NGOs.

International support from volunteers and NGOs allows the institution to access modern teaching facilities such as online courses, innovative ideas and technologies. These technologies and cross-cultural interactive environment help students obtain hope through interaction with other likeminded students, teachers and people, both inside and outside Afghanistan.

The ACCC owes its existence to the sacrifices of the Canadian people and the Canadian heroes. My parents have always told me that there is one country that has supported and still supporting my dream of getting a higher education and that’s Canada and its kind people. I was given the chance to live a peaceful and prosperous life by virtue of the ultimate sacrifices paid by the Canadian men and women in uniform who served in Afghanistan. I know that their spirit lives on forever in the legacy of honor, dignity and integrity that they left for the Kandaharis and institutions like the ACCC.

The closure of ACCC would be a significant loss for the Kandahar community, for women’s rights, and international reconstruction efforts. Over 1,100 women are fearlessly defying deep-rooted taboos/unquestioned traditions and are changing shame for freedom and disgrace for opportunity. They fearlessly risk their lives for an education because an education is more necessary for them than water, food and clothes. Without the ACCC these women would no longer have the opportunity to receive the education they need to earn a living for themselves and their families. Afghan businesses and non-government organizations would be denied access to a significant source of professionally trained students.

When I was student at the Afghan Canadian Community Center I realized that all students had one common fear; ‘If Canadians stop funding our school, where will we learn?’ Please don’t let that fear come true. If Kandahar loses the ACCC then the sacrifices made by the Canadian forces will have been in vain. More than 1,100 women are putting education ahead of personal safety, food and water; please show them Canada’s support by preventing the closure of the ACCC.

Please consider donating to my ‘Dare to Learn’ Fundraising Campaign, which will raise $10,000 this December – enough to fund a class of 25 students. I plan to raise $100,000 in total for the ACCC over the next year. I would also encourage you to please consider writing your Member of Parliament via our easy-to-use online tool to ask for their support for our Women’s Skills for Rights and Empowerment grant application.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this vital Afghan school for women and thank you for providing me the opportunity to a life that all Canadian girls expect.

Sincerely,

Maryam Naquibullah

A Letter on Transnational Skyping, Learning, and Relationship

January 11th, 2014 1 comment

Following our successful fundraiser for the Morning Program in December, the Afghan School Project is now turning our attention to supporting the Afternoon Program, which has struggled after the end of large donor funding in the Fall of 2013.

To this end, we are honoured to publish this touching and informative appeal from Caroline Burke:

For Nargis and me, January marked our third year of “Can you hear me?” “Yes, I can hear you!!!” This twice-weekly exchange never loses its emotion. For the last two years, through the Alliance for International Women’s Rights, I’ve been teaching Nargis English via Skype. But in December of 2013, The Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, has had to shut down the high-speed internet due to lack of funding in the wake of the US troop-withdrawal. If in the coming months the school does not find enough income, it will shut down entirely. I am doing my best now to let people know what’s going on, brainstorm solutions, and raise donations in any way I can.

Here’s my logic:

I know that each of us believe in the power of education, particularly when it is offered to everyone… even women. I also know how existentially frustrating it is to feel like we can’t make a difference, can’t help make a change in a visible way. So here, I think, is a very simple way. Through the Canadian Learning Foundation – this site – 100% of the proceeds go straight to KIMS. Each girl pays about $1 a day to attend and tuition is $25 a month. The headmaster, Ehsanullah Ehsan, has had an inspired vision for the school’s future since its inception, and like many, I am motivated by his audacity.

When I began volunteering for this organization (aiwr.org) January of 2012, I thought it would be a short stint. I lived in Greece and the time difference between Thessaloniki and Afghanistan was just under 2 hours. It was an easy hour from my day, and it was fun. But that July, I couldn’t imagine it ending when I had to move back home. By that time, Nargis and I had drudged through the difference between “present simple” & “continuous” a dozen times, lost our respective cats, shared our families with one another, and, among several other tragic events, grieved the Kandahar massacre that left 16 civilians in her city dead. So a year & a half later, every Monday and Wednesday, I wake up at 5:00am and spend the next two hours with her working on grammar, gabbing about shampoo and shoes, trying and failing to explain Santa Clause (fat weird man who flies and fits in a chimney?), learning fascinating Pashtu folklore (lots of tigers), and exchanging words, thoughts and prayers of encouragement with my significantly wiser Skype counterpart.

There are dozens of these relationships just like ours operating on Skype through KIMS, the school. I can’t imagine the kind of generational change that can be created by this intimate of an understanding among women across the globe — if only we can keep the connection alive. In between all the cultural rhetoric, media messages, government propaganda and senseless violence, it threads a needle of camaraderie, empathy and hope. We can proselytize for international understanding and connection between women, but what does it mean without real conversation? Low bandwidth and audio hiccups notwithstanding, this program gives us the chance to talk and to listen, to teach and to learn. And while my title may be “Volunteer Teacher,” I incur far more wisdom than I impart.

Nargis is 16. She wants to become a biologist or doctor and stay in Afghanistan to help her country realize its potential. I believe she will achieve this goal and many others. We’ve done lessons on subjects ranging from Nelson Mandela to catabolism, Frida Kahlo to Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea,” “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” to Bob Marley (Her favorite song is “Three Little Birds.” She likes him even more than Beyoncé. I get it. Far worse, though, she loves Avril).

NBC Nightly News filmed KIMS along with Nargis and me for a story they aired on April 4th on the importance of keeping the school open. I’m honored to share it here.

To see the school stay open for years to come will bring joy — and quite literally, bring power — to thousands of women both here and in Afghanistan. A thought, a prayer, a dollar, a smile or (and especially) a moment in reading about the movement all add to its momentum.

To contribute financially, click here.

And here is an interview NPR did with Ehsan after the massacre in 2012.

– Caroline Burke

And Then There Were Eight

December 29th, 2013 No comments

English training in progress

 

Update: We did it! The Giving Page will remain up for the next two weeks for those still wish to continue, and we will continue to post student profiles as even more scholarships are funded. Thank you all!

Thank you very much for your help with our 3 Weeks, 30 Scholarships Campaign. Because of your generous gifts, we have already funded 22 year-long scholarships for women in Kandahar. This means that we are now more than 75% of the way to meeting our goal of raising $9,000 for the Afghan Canadian Community Center, the Morning Program at the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies.

I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to some of the students you’ve helped:

Amina* is a 16 year old student in Computing and English at the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies. She would like to be a journalist one day, and dreams of helping bring the voice of Afghanistan to the world. She loves reading history and journalism books. Her favourite food is rice, and the person she admires most is Ehsan, KIMS Director. To her sponsors, she says: “[You] are great and loving people.”

Habiba, 18, wants to be an economics teacher. She admires her mother, and enjoys vegetables and rice.

Aqila, 27, currently works at a secondary school, where she is a teacher. Her courses in Computing and English will allow her to pass her skills on to the next generation of Afghan students. In her spare time, Aqila enjoys books, stories, and watching television. Her favourite meal is rice and vegetables, and the person she admires most is her father. To her sponsor, she says that they are “very nice people.”

Lila, 15, says, “Thank you so much and please help us to continue our education.” One day, Lila would “like to become English and computer teacher. I will help my community in learning.”

Rabia is 21 years old, and hopes to one day become a nurse and help heal members of her community. In her spare time, she enjoys reading medical books. The people she admires most are her teacher at KIMS and Director Ehsanullah Ehsan. To her sponsors, she says: “I would like to say thank you to all the sponsoring people.”

* Names have been changed to protect student privacy.

We’ve come a long way in a short time, but there are still 8 more students who need help to receive access to life-changing education. One student is just $33 away from having her scholarship funded.

When it costs just $25 per month to sponsor a student in two subjects, you don’t have to make a big donation to make a big difference. What’s more, each dollar donated will be matched by the Cadmus Foundation, effectively doubling the impact of your gift.

To help, please donate via our Giving Page.

It’s not too late for Canadian donors to receive a tax-deductible donation for 2013 – just donate online by the evening of December 31st!

100% of directed donations go directly toward funding student scholarships. No portion of these gifts will be spent on marketing or administration.

Want to help us spread the word? Please share this article on facebook, twitter, or other social media sites.

Want to learn more about the students being sponsored? Follow the Afghan School Project on facebook.

About the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies:

The Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS) is a professional educational institution in Kandahar, Afghanistan operated by the Afghan Learning and Development Organization, a registered Afghan NGO. The Institute provides more than 1,500 women and men with the opportunity to receive education in Business Management, Information Technology, English and Communications, while providing members of the community with access to the Internet and online classes from Canadian and international institutions. KIMS has received funding from both the Government of Canada and the US State Department, and the success of KIMS has been featured by many international media outlets, including CBS, the Times (UK), BBC, CBC, Al-Jazeera and many others.

About the Canadian International Learning Foundation:

The Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) is a volunteer-run registered Canadian charity which provides education and mentors educators in areas of the world affected by war, illness and poverty (at-risk areas). CanILF sponsors scholarships, purchases equipment and provides development assistance at KIMS as part of our Afghan School Project (ASP). Through the Afghan School Project, we have helped hundreds of students obtain high-paying employment that allows them to provide a living for themselves and their families while participating in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The vast majority of all work done by CanILF is done by volunteers via the Internet.

ACCC Morning Program Brings Hope to More than 150 Students

May 15th, 2013 No comments

English language class in progress

With the support of Canadian donors and our partner charities, more than 150 female students in Kandahar are now receiving vital education at the Afghan Canadian Community Center’s Morning Program in Kandahar. This program, provided by the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, allows students to receive professional training in a range of high-demand fields, including computing, business, communications and journalism.

A Small Program with a Big Impact

The total yearly cost of the program is $45,000, a figure raised with the support of the Luke Four Foundation, the Cadmus Foundation, and individual Canadian donors. The Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) has pledged to support the Morning Program for the next three years (2013 to 2015), and has successfully raised the first year’s costs. This multi-year commitment will provide a vital source of reliable funding for both the Afghan Canadian Community Center and Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, providing stability to the students and teachers.

“We are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with the Afghan Canadian Community Center,” said Ryan Aldred, President of CanILF. “Their industry-leading training will go a long way toward building local capacity in Kandahar and clearly demonstrating the value of education for Afghan women.”

The Afghan Canadian Community Center has served the women of Kandahar since 2006 and received funding from the Canadian International Development Agency from 2008 to 2012. During this period, the Center successfully trained 2,278 graduates. The students who secured employment as a result of this education provide economic support to an estimated 9,800 residents of Kandahar. The Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies – the Center’s parent organization – is presently funded by a grant from US State Department.

Computer students practice their lessons

Help Us Keep the Morning Program Running

CanILF Board Member volunteer Erin Collins is raising funds for Morning Program scholarships at the Afghan Canadian Community Center as she prepares to run her first-ever marathon on May 26. Her goal is to raise $1,050 – or a one–month scholarship ($25) for a female student for each of the 42.2 kilometres of the race. To contribute to her campaign and help cheer her on, please visit Erin’s Giving Page here. Donations are eligible for Canadian tax receipts and also count toward our $30,000 annual fundraising goal, which will unlock the next $15,000 matching grant from the Cadmus Foundation.

You can also sponsor Morning Program students through our Adopt-a-Student program for as little as $10 per month. As a Scholarship funders, you will receive a student profile telling you about your student’s interests and plans for the future.

English langauge class in progress

English langauge class in progress

Modern education changing lives in Afghanistan

March 12th, 2013 1 comment

International Women’s Day took on new meaning for more than 200 women and girls in Kandahar, Afghanistan this weekend as they graduated from the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS) — a 1,900 person education institute funded by the United States government.

A view of the crowd gathered at KIMS to celebrate International Women's Day by a graduation

A view of the crowd gathered at KIMS to celebrate International Women’s Day by a graduation

Thirteen students dressed in SAIT Polytechnic caps and gowns collected certificates of achievement in Business Management. During the ceremony, SAIT graduate and valedictorian Tehmina Abdali emphasized the importance of education for Afghanistan.

Tahmina, a Graduate Delivering Her Speech

Tahmina, a Graduate Delivering Her Speech

“Education is more precious than gold. For gold you will have to worry and take care of it, but education will take care of you. Education always empowers, prospers, and builds nations,” Abdali said, while encouraging her fellow students to express sincere gratitude to donors and teachers who helped provide the gift of education.

“SAIT is proud to provide education on the world stage and as we grow as an institution, increasing the opportunity for international students is an important element,” says Gord Nixon, Academic Vice President Academic at SAIT Polytechnic. “This unique e-learning opportunity for our Afghan students has them logging into SAIT courses just as a Canadian student would, except they are at a desk in Kandahar.”

More than 40 students in Afghanistan are currently enrolled in SAIT online courses that include business communications, human resources management and leadership. SAIT has partnered with the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) and KIMS since 2007.

SAIT_KIMS Graduate Receiving Her Certificate from the Director of Women Affairs

One of the Graduates Receiving Her Certificate from the Director of Women Affairs

“Thousands of girls and women in Kandahar have access to education and a better life today because of the support from North America,” says Ehsanullah Ehsan, president of the Afghan Learning Development Organization — parent organization of KIMS and the ACCC. “The support demonstrates a commitment to respect for human rights and freedom.”

”The USG is proud to take part in this superb endeavor, bringing the hope represented by education and economic opportunity to girls and women in Kandahar, where they face some of the greatest challenges in the world”, according to Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team Director Brian Bachman.

Ryan Aldred, President of the Canadian International Learning Foundation, who provides technical and financial support to this education initiative, says individual donors and institutional partners have made a tremendous difference in the lives of Kandahar women.

“Since the ACCC/KIMS opened, more than 2,000 students have graduated. On average, employed graduates provide financial support to six family members. The success of this program can serve as a model for professional education in Afghanistan and regions around the world recovering from war, illness or poverty.”

Maryam Durani, Kndahar Provincial Council Member Addressing the Audience

Maryam Durani, Kndahar Provincial Council Member Addressing the Audience

Director of Women Affairs Roqia Achackzai, Kandahar Provincial Council Member Maryam Durani, Information and Culture Director Dawa Khan Minapal, Kandahar Radio Television Manager Noorullah Noori, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and UNAMA representatives, Kandahar journalists, Kandahar schools principals, civil society members and parents attended the event.

Inspiring speeches were delivered to mark the achievements of women. The speakers said they were impressed by the remarkable achievements KIMS/ACCC/ALDO had made. They praised the efforts of these institutions in providing girls better education, information and job opportunities. They said they were grateful to the governments and people of the United States of America and Canada for supporting Kandahar women.

Information and Culture Director Dawa Khan Minapal Addressing the Audience

Information and Culture Director Dawa Khan Minapal Addressing the Audience

Gifts of kitchen sets, stationery, clothes and school bags were distributed among the participants. These had been generously donated and prepared by UNHCR, Kandahar Municipality, UNAMA and KIMS.  The graduates and guests also enjoyed refreshments, all of which were arranged by the KIMS contributions.

 

 

 

’12 Days of Learning’ a Huge Success for Afghan Women

January 2nd, 2013 1 comment

Thanks to your generous support, the new year is off to a fantastic start for between 150 and 200 women and girls and their families in Kandahar!

Donations of all sizes have combined to enable the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) to exceed our 12 Days of Learning goal, raising a total of $10,000 and unlocking the $15,000 matching grant from the Cadmus Foundation. Most importantly, your gifts have allowed the women’s morning education program to enter 2013 with a full year of funding in place ($45,000) to cover the core operating costs of the Afghan Canadian Community Center in Kandahar.

This means students and teachers can go into their morning English, Computing and Communications courses confident that the classes will continue. It also puts CanILF volunteers in a better position to seek out new partners and funding sources to help students thrive at this highly-respected school.

Your generosity also proves to large donor agencies – such as the US State Department, which provides most of funding for the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS), the ACCC’s parent organization – that the Insititute has widespread international support from charities and individual donors alike. This kind of support can play a critical role in helping us renew our current grant, and give KIMS the time needed to achieve self-sustainability. The morning program will educate 150 to 200 girls and women. Overall, the Institute expects to provide vital education for between 1,500 to 1,800 women and men in Kandahar this year.

Having exceeded the 12 Days of Learning campaign goal by more than $1,300, the additional funds will allow us to start working toward funding the program through to the end of 2015 and, if possible, fund even more student scholarships in 2013. Donations that exceeded our goal also became the first to count towards our next matching grant, as the Cadmus Foundation will provide another $15,000 match once we raise an additional $30,000. This means that going forward your donations will continue to have an even greater impact!

We are very grateful for every donor as well as the volunteers who created and promoted the zero-cost 12 Days of Learning campaign. My sincere thanks as well to all of you who shared the information with your friends and family; we were introduced to many first-time supporters as a result. This volunteer support will also allow us to use 100% of donations received to fund scholarships and purchase educational equipment.

Thank you as well to the Luke Four Foundation for their generous donation last month, which also supports women’s education in Kandahar and got us off on a great start as we successfully raised our first $30,000. We are also deeply honoured by the support of Capt. Trevor Greene and the Greene Family Education Initiative Fund, which contributed $1,000 this December to CanILF’s programming at the ACCC.

To those of you who are new to us, welcome and thank you! Visit www.canilf.org to learn more about CanILF’s volunteer-run work to support education in regions of poverty, war or illness. You can also contact me any time, or connect with us on Facebook for CanILF and the Afghan School Project.

Lastly, I would like to share the words of Ms. Yelda Mahmoud, a former ACCC student now living in Canada, who donated to the Campaign.

Yelda wrote: “Educate a woman and you will educate a nation.”

Wishing you and our students great things for 2013,

Ryan Aldred
President
Canadian International Learning Foundation

12 Days of Learning

December 20th, 2012 2 comments

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This has been an incredibly eventful year for the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) and our partners. Most recently, we are pleased to announce new support for a morning programat the Afghan Canadian Community Center in Kandahar, as well as a new grant that gives us the opportunity to qualify for a $15,000 matching donation if we can raise a further $8,700. We hope to raise this in just 12 days (by December 31) and allow the morning program to start 2013 with a full year of funding and stability in place. We hope you decide to help us make the most of this 12 Day opportunity to receive the match and educate more students in need.

The morning program will educate between 150 and 200 Afghan girls and women in English, Computing and Communications. Just days ago, the Cadmus Foundation announced they are providing a $15,000 match for each $30,000 CanILF raises between now and 2015 (to a maximum of $45,000). Recently-received donations, including a generous new grant from the Luke Four Foundation, count towards the matching total, so we are now just $8,700 away from qualifying to receive the $15,000 matching grant in 2012.

This means now is the best time to donate and make an even greater difference in the lives of Afghan women. Plus, you can still receive a Canadian tax receipt for 2012, or even donate as a gift and receive a student profile via email just in time for the holidays.

To help get the new morning program off to the right start, donate to our 12 Days of Learning campaign online. You can make a one-time donation or help a student attend English and Computing courses for just $10, $15 or $25 per month, for any number of months. To receive your student’s profile, please include ‘Adopt-a-Student’ in your message. To provide you a 2012 Canadian tax credit, and to have the donation count towards the match in 2012, we must receive your donation by December 31.

With your donations and the full match, the new morning program would start 2013 with a full year of funding in place to cover the core costs in Kandahar to operate the program ($45,000). This would provide significant stability and comfort to students and teachers. It would also better enable future planning and make it easier to attract new international partners and raise even greater donations to help students thrive. The impact of your donation has truly never been greater.

I look forward to updating you further on the Afghan school and CanILF’s other programs, including the Uganda Literacy and Education Program (www.ulep.org) and the Educator Volunteer Network (www.educatorvolunteer.net), in early in 2013.

Again, to donate to the 12 Days of Learning campaign and help us receive the $15,000 match, please click here or send a cheque payable to the Canadian International Learning Foundation to: The Canadian International Learning Foundation, PO Box 4791 Station E, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B1.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Ryan Aldred
President
Canadian International Learning Foundation
Ph. (613) 503-5349
Em. staff@canilf.org