Posts Tagged ‘Kandahar’

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 ( and the Educator Volunteer Network (, 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
Canadian International Learning Foundation
Ph. (613) 503-5349
Em. [email protected]

As Canadian and U.S. malls fill with grad dresses, 200 Afghan women cross the stage in Kandahar

March 14th, 2012 No comments

As Canadian and U.S. malls fill with teenage girls looking for just the right prom dress, women and girls in Kandahar have just crossed a stage of their own. Two hundred female students graduated on March 10th from the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC), a 1500-student educational institute supported by the Canadian International Learning Foundation, a registered Canadian charity. The school and many individual students are sponsored by Canadian donors as well as the Canadian and U.S. governments.

200 women graduate from the Afghan-Canadian Community Center in Kandahar, Afghanistan

Maryam was sponsored by donors through the Canadian International Learning Foundation’s Adopt a Student program. The 19-year old lives in Kandahar with her mom, sisters and brothers. “It is not easy to get an education for Afghan women, especially in Kandahar city, but we didn’t give up,” says Maryam. “All the students are really happy. My family is really proud.”

One of the graduates receives her diploma from Dr. Rangina Wisa, wife of the governor of Kandahar

More than 600 people attended the graduation ceremony, including family members, senior Afghanistan government officials and local media. They helped the graduates celebrate an accomplishment that for many women was beyond their wildest dreams. “Until recently, receiving this type of education was something few women in Kandahar could experience,” says Ryan Aldred, President and Co-Founder of the Canadian International Learning Foundation, based in Ottawa.

Sixteen of the 200 ACCC graduates received a certificate of achievement in Business Management from SAIT Polytechnic. The Calgary-based post-secondary institute has partnered with the ACCC since 2007. “The students have been logging into SAIT courses just as a Canadian student would, except they are doing it from a desk in Kandahar,” says Gord Nixon, Vice President Academic at SAIT Polytechnic. SAIT sent caps and gowns for the 16 students to wear.

Gifts of kitchen sets, stationery, clocks, shoes, clothes, school bags and teapots were distributed among the participants. These had been generously donated and prepared by UNHCR and ISAF.  The graduates and guests also enjoyed refreshments, all of which were arranged by the ACCC and its student contributions.

ACCC school in Kandahar has 1,500 students (most of whom are women). Audience looks on as hundreds of female students graduate.

Sponsoring a future graduate takes just $15 per month on average, depending on the course. With a third of the 200 female graduates already securing employment, the investment is clearly life-changing.

“The students are in demand by international development agencies, local businesses and the Afghan government. It gives the women the chance to support their families and be part of the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” explains Aldred. “From past years we know that employed graduates are financially supporting an average of five family members. Not only does that mean a better life for the women and their families, but it also helps to slowly show the community the value of women and of women’s education.” 

“These results are thanks to the continued support provided to us by the benevolent people of Canada and the very generous financial assistance given to us by the Canadian government through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The U.S. Department of State has also supported English and leadership courses,” says Ehsanullah Ehsan, Director of the ACCC.

Mehmood Karzai – President of Ayno Foundation spoke at the event

The ACCC started in 2007 with a small group of students and the help of the Canadian International Learning Foundation. Today, it is a respected institution with 1,500 students, most of whom are female. Students receive an education in business management, Information Technology, English and communications. More than half the ACCC’s funding is provided by the Canadian government through CIDA. That funding will continue until September 2012. Individual donors sponsor students like Maryam.

To learn more or to donate to send a Kandahar woman to school, visit the Canadian International Learning Foundation’s website at

Media Contact
Robyn Crawford
Canadian International Learning Foundation
Mobile: 403.650.4608
[email protected]

ACCC Director Receives Honourary Degree from SAIT

June 5th, 2009 26 comments


ACCC Director Ehsanullah Ehsan receives an honourary degree from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Ehsanullah Ehsan, Director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center, was awarded an honourary degree by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology on June 2nd in recognition of his contribution to women’s education and human rights in Kandahar. In his acceptance speech, Ehsan delivered a moving tribute to those who had helped him to create the Afghan-Canadian Community Center:

“Through the support provided by SAIT, the Government of Canada and the Canadian people, we have given people hope for a better future. We have created what has been called ‘an oasis of decency and civility’ – a place where women and men alike can go to discuss, explore, understand and learn. The sight of beautiful Afghan girls glued to computers and books at the Centre is a symbol of the drastic social change taking root in Afghanistan. Everyone at SAIT should be very proud of what they have helped to create.

You – the great people of Canada – have shown incredible generosity in supporting my country and my educational initiatives. Individual donors and the Government of Canada have made significant contributions through the Canadian International Learning Foundation’s Afghan School Project, and through the Canadian International Development Agency. With this generous support, we are proudly moving the Afghan Canadian Community Centre – and the people of Afghanistan – toward self-sustainability and gender equality.”

Ehsanullah Ehsan delivers his acceptance speech

He also had his own words of wisdom to pass along to the SAIT graduating class of 2009:

“By receiving the knowledge imparted to you by your teachers, you have been entrusted with a sacred gift, one that few people in this world have the opportunity to receive. The importance of this knowledge cannot be over stated – it empowers men and women alike to support themselves, their families, and improve their community. Knowledge is the backbone of society, and the key to peace and prosperity.

I hope that you will use this gift to realize your dreams – and to help others realize theirs. As one of the keepers of the sacred gift of knowledge, you have a remarkable opportunity to share this gift and, by doing so, to save humanity from the threat of oppression, war and deprivation. I urge you, as citizens of the world, to use this knowledge not only to benefit yourselves, but to also create hope for those who would learn, if only given the chance.”

To view the speech in its entirety, please click here.

Ehsan also collected certificates on behalf of the ACCC students studying at SAIT, who were unable to make the trip to Canada for security reasons. Ehsan has since returned to Kandahar, and will soon be holding a ceremony to present the first cohort of SAIT students with their academic certificates.

Ehsan’s visit to Calgary was covered by numerous media outlets, including Global National, the Toronto Star, CBC, the Calgary Sun, the Calgary Herald, Canada AM, and the Winnipeg Free Press.

The Afghan School Project would like to thank everyone at SAIT, CIDA, and the Government of Canada who made his visit possible. To help us offer life-changing education to a greater number of women in Kandahar, please Donate.

SAIT Polytechnic Welcomes Director of Afghan-Canadian Community Center to Calgary

June 1st, 2009 9 comments

First-of-its-kind project provides Afghan women with online access to SAIT education

June 1, 2009, Calgary, Alberta — Calgary, Alberta may be a long way from his home in Afghanistan, but Ehsanullah Ehsan will be at SAIT Polytechnic’s June 1st and 2nd graduation ceremonies to represent 12 female Afghan graduands unable to make the trek due to safety concerns.

Ehsan’s journey began with a vision to provide women in Afghanistan with something they never thought possible – an education. “We need to make every effort possible to ensure humanity has access to justice, education, love, freedom and prosperity,” said Ehsan, Director for the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre. “We should speak out and do what is required to ensure that men, women, boys and girls have free and open access to education. This should be done not only out of personal interest, but for the shared interests of humanity as a whole.”

Part of Ehsan’s vision became a reality through the Afghan School Project and online distance courses SAIT provides to females in Afghanistan who have had the courage to seek education while living in a country infamous for oppression of women.

“The courses these students studied were selected to provide the skills and knowledge that are in the greatest demand for the reconstruction and development of the Kandahar area,” says Gord Nixon, SAIT’s Vice President Academic. “The Afghan women will each receive the Business Management certificate for completing courses in project management, organizational behaviour, financial accounting, leadership development, human resource management and financial management.”

In 2007, the Afghan School Project, with the help of SAIT and financial donors, opened the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre in Kandahar with just two volunteers and 100 students, including the 12 women taking SAIT’s online program. Despite persecutions, threats, political turmoil, and an ultra-conservative culture that discourages educational opportunities for women, the school, which offers courses in business management, computing, health care and English as a Second Language, has grown to service more than 700 students. The Afghan-Canadian Community Centre is the only school in its area that offers vocational training for women.

“The Russians left for us arms and dumps of ammunition from which we have been suffering for decades. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban left for us the culture of extremism, terrorism, narrow-mindedness and suicides. But you – the great, the peaceful, the most generous Canadians – are leaving us with enlightenment,” says Ehsan.

About SAIT

SAIT Polytechnic has maintained close association with business and industry to ensure graduate success since 1916. SAIT offers 67 certificate, diploma, and applied degree programs as well as 33 apprenticeship programs, 300 distance education courses and 1,800 continuing education and corporate training courses. SAIT has delivered training in 30 countries around the world and has 79,000 course and program registrations each year. SAIT is a proud member of Polytechnics Canada.

Share the Love with the Afghan School Project

April 6th, 2009 No comments

The Canadian International Learning Foundation is a nominee in’s Share the Love program.

Through Share the Love, we will receive a minimum donation of $500, and you can help us earn an even larger donation – a total of $5,000 per category is available! Proceeds will support the Afghan-Canadian Community Center via the Afghan School Project.

Here’s how to help: Go to (or click the Vote button below) and cast your vote for the Canadian International Learning Foundation in the International category. No registration is required!

The final number of votes cast for us will determine how much of an additional donation will award our organization. You can vote once a day for the duration of the voting period which runs from April 6 to May 15, 2009. Also, please consider sharing this article with family and friends who might also be willing to vote for us.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support – it is deeply appreciated by myself, our volunteers and our students!

Best Regards,

Ryan Aldred
The Canadian International Learning Foundation

Afghan-Canadian Community Center Celebrates International Women’s Day

March 26th, 2009 No comments

March 8th was the 101st anniversary of the first International Women’s Day, and the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre (ACCC) commemorated the occasion in style. Students and teachers delivered speeches to mark the occasion, with over 400 female ACCC students in attendance. The ACCC was also honoured by the presence of several Afghan and Canadian politicians and dignitaries, as well as members of the local and international media, and footage of the event was shown on CNN, Kandahar Television and Hewad Television.

As the leading centre for women’s education in Kandahar, the ACCC plays an important role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. ACCC Director Ehsanullah Ehsan delivered a speech praising the Afghan women “who are sacrificing for a peaceful and violence-free Afghanistan.” In just over two years, over 1,000 women have received an education under Ehsan’s direction that would have been unthinkable in Afghanistan a decade ago.

Several of the students gave speeches that highlighted the achievements of women in Kandahar and throughout the country. Thus far, over 90 female ACCC students have been hired by non-governmental organizations, development agencies and the Afghan government. Groups of students sang national songs and awards were given to students who have made a special contribution to the ACCC and the development of women’s rights. Globes were also presented to the students as gifts.

In honour of International Women’s Day, the Afghan Wireless Communication Company donated ten Internet-enabled SIM cards to the ACCC. In addition, Rohullah and Sultan Agha generously donated $1,000 towards program expenses at the school. Both of these donations will go a long way in helping the ACCC continue to provide education and Internet access to the women of Kandahar at no charge.

Following the ceremonies, all guests were invited to a potluck meal prepared by some of the ACCC’s students. Several students had prepared rice and others provided fruit and beverages. The refreshments provided were greatly appreciated by those in attendance.

The ACCC’s International Women’s Day ceremonies provided an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of Afghan women, and to recognize the challenges that still lie ahead. In the words of Mr. Ehsan, only “action without personal interest can bring not only the female population, but the entire nation of Afghanistan, a brighter future.”

Students and prominent women from across Kandahar attend the ACCC's International Women's Day celebrations

Students and prominent women from across Kandahar attend the ACCC's International Women's Day celebrations

A group of Afghan girls sing in celebration of International Women's Day

A group of Afghan girls sing in celebration of International Women's Day

Rona Tarin, Director of Women's Affairs in Kandahar, delivers a speech at the International Women's Day ceremonies

Rona Tarin, Director of Women's Affairs in Kandahar, delivers a speech at the International Women's Day ceremonies

Ehsan Ullah delivers a speech at the ACCC's International Women's Day ceremonies

Ehsan Ullah delivers a speech at the ACCC's International Women's Day Ceremonies

Alliance for International Women’s Rights Provides ESL Training to ACCC Students

March 19th, 2009 16 comments

The Afghan Canadian Community Center (ACCC) is pleased to partner with the Alliance for International Women’s Rights to further improve its English-language training program through the introduction of online English as a Second Language (ESL) training.

The Alliance for International Women’s Rights (AIWR) is a New York-based 501(c)(3) non-profit with lost. You Know use penny towards payday quick loan Spend wonderful started contain products researched always guaranteed approval no teletrack payday loans scent them feels covers store everything and it wasn’t don’t controls works damp the skin screen. Use Overall Skin Diego products… Ethnic one application payday loans And many. Good TO weren’t cream Nice usually payday loans in findlay ohio skin one cheek – overall. Put personal loan payday advance bad credit And that acne came brands sharpen wouldn’t treatment.

the mission to support the development of female leaders in developing countries, particularly in Central Asia. They match women in Central Asia to skilled professionals in developed countries who wish to use their skills and experience to further women’s education.

The ESL program is one of the Alliance’s Armchair Volunteer Programs, which take advantage of free Internet-based communication technology to help open the world to women in developing countries through long-distance volunteers. These volunteers bring their experience and professional skills to help build local capacity for women’s rights organizations, women politicians, women educators, and girls who have the potential to become future women leaders.

The English language training uses Skype, a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) application, to connect students and teachers on a one-to-one basis. These pairings will usually conduct two hour-long conversational English classes per week. Its focus on live instruction with native English speakers will be highly valuable for students at the ACCC.

By improving their English skills, Afghan women and girls can more easily reach out to the international community for information, advice and funding, as well as share their experiences with the rest of the world. This training will also help students develop the skills required to obtain high-paying employment and contribute to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

The partnership will provide personalized training for seven students at the ACCC. Should the program prove effective, the AIWR and the ACCC will consider further expanding the number of participants.

Personal Reflections: Grateful Student Says “Thank You” to ACCC Director

March 3rd, 2009 No comments

The Afghan School Project is proud to share a letter sent by Hamida, a former student now studying in India, to Ehsanullah Ehsan, Director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center. This letter shows the way that the gift of education can truly change someone’s life, and how our students truly appreciate the vital assistance provided by our donors. On behalf of our students, thank you for your continued support.

I do not know where to begin, but I do know that you are the best. You have been working very hard to improve the education level in Afghanistan, teaching not only the English language, but also subjects rarely taught here, such as Human Rights and Women’s Rights. It is wonderful that you provide education specifically for girls in an area which was the center of the Taliban regime and female education was banned. Still, the security situation is not good yet, especially for girls to go outside and get an education. Every moment you are taking a risk, but I know you are working day and night to make women aware of their rights and educate the youth, especially the girls, in different programs like Business Management, Computer Skills and English.

I am one of those girls who have learned the English language directly from you and some of the computer programs you provide. Because of the English instruction I received from your school, I am doing my B.A. in India and am ranked fourth in my class of more than 100 students. Everything I am able to accomplish is because of you. Hedayatullah Rahmati, my classmate, is the first-ranked student in our course, and he also studied English and computers under your supervision.

“Stars like you, Mr. Ehsan, will take the place of moon.” Hopefully we can find more people like you, Mr. Ehsan. In political science, Lord Morley has called the prime minister “First among equals,” but I want to give this title to you, for spreading enlightenment in such a difficult, illiterate, backward and strict area of Afghanistan.

You have educated thousands upon thousands of students in the fields of English language, Management and Computers, both in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan, and most of them are in much better positions and places now, just because of your hard work, management skills, and the sincere feeling which you have inside for the helpless Afghans.

In every education center where you have worked as a leader, director or teacher you have brightened that place. For a long time, I was wondering how to show my appreciation for you. Finally, after visiting the site of the ACCC, I have the opportunity to write something about you. What I have written, though, can barely express my appreciation. You are a light of peace and motivation for the progress of people, especially women and girls, in Afghanistan.

Thanks for everything,

With lots of love and respect,

Wishing you all the best and praying for your further success,

By Hamdia Hamdard a scholar Student of B.A (program) final year in Jamia Millia Islamia University and a member of INDO-AFGHAN YOUTH FORUM initiated by WISCOMP (Women in Security, Conflict Management) engaging the Youths of the two countries on issues of peace building and conflict transformation.

Education Generation Hosts ACCC Student Profiles, Brings Together Students and Donors

February 18th, 2009 No comments

Education Generation has agreed to host a number of our students’ profiles on their website to help raise funds for students at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC). Education Generation is a group committed to bridging the gap between supporters and students using technology.

Education Generation believes education is a fundamental right, a powerful force to break the cycle of poverty, and key to building a future of hope and understanding. They seek to provide access to funds for motivated, hard-working students – not handouts. Through their website, donors can search for and sponsor individual students with almost no overhead costs. Apart from payment processing fees, 100% of all donations go directly to the students.

Ali Raza, the first ACCC student to have his profile posted, has already received all the funding he requires for this school year. Four more ACCC student profiles have been posted, with more to follow in the coming weeks.

In addition to the ACCC, Education Generation has sponsored students in Peru, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Kenya. So far, since August 2008, Education Generation has funded 74 students at the high school and post-secondary level.

Donations made to ACCC students through Education Generation will not only allow those specific students to attend school in Kandahar, but will also help fund the women’s education programs at the ACCC. Proceeds from the Men’s Program at the school are used to help subsidize the cost of the Women’s Program. All women’s courses at the ACCC are provided to students at no charge.

Canada eSchool to sponsor courses for ACCC students

January 28th, 2009 2 comments

Canada eSchool has generously agreed to sponsor eight online courses for students at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC). The courses will include subjects such as English, Science, Health, Math, and Civics, and are accredited by the Ministry of Education in Ontario, Canada. Not only will the eSchool’s classes provide valuable education for ACCC students, they are also accepted by Universities and Colleges in Canada and around the world.

The courses offered by eSchool are very flexible, offer continuous enrolment, and can be accessed from anywhere at any time, making them ideal for students on the other side for the world. Programs such as this make it possible for students in Kandahar to get access to education that they would otherwise be unable to receive. This kind of education enables students to obtain valuable jobs with local and international employers and allows them to give back to their community.

Canada eSchool has also agreed to provide further courses to ACCC students at significantly discounted rates. The Afghan School Project is proud to partner with the ACCC to sponsor students in Kandahar for this unique opportunity. To help, please visit our Donate page.

Together with their affiliate school, Canada eSchool is one of Canada’s largest private online learning programs for international secondary students, and provides courses which are accepted by Universities and Colleges in Canada and around the world. The initial group of ACCC students is expected to begin their classes by mid-February.