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ACCC Director Receives Honourary Degree from SAIT

June 5th, 2009 26 comments

honorary-degree

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.”

ehsan-delivers-speech
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.

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.

Afghan-Canadian Community Center Remains Open Despite Insecurity

June 18th, 2008 No comments

Despite ongoing insecurity near Kandahar City, the vast majority of students continued to attend classes at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC).  The dedication of the students not only demonstrates their courage and the leadership, professionalism and skill of the ACCC staff, it also reflects the high value placed upon ACCC education by members of the Kandahar community.

The volunteers and supporters of the Afghan School Project would like to extend our best wishes to the staff and students of the ACCC, whose determination and hard work have made the school such a success. Everyone involved with this project should be very proud of what they have helped to create. 

The ACCC will remain open during the weeks to come and will continue with plans to expand its facilities, including the addition of a new library.

ACCC students provide gift of education to future students

April 22nd, 2008 1 comment

A group of students with the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) Business Management program has generously donated more than $200 to the ACCC, thereby helping us provide the gift of education to a new generation of students.
 
Many of our students have been able to obtain high-paying jobs with international non-government organizations and large Afghan businesses as a result of their education. This act of generosity, equivalent to a year’s salary for many in Afghanistan, will help ensure that even more students will have that same opportunity. The students – Abdullah Amin, Kiramatullah Mehrabi, Sayed Ali Asghar Hashimi, Niamatullah Sofizada and Ahsanullah Jawed Shafaq - have also pledged to help the ACCC raise funds by reaching out to the international Afghan community.
 
On behalf of the Canadian volunteers with the Afghan School Project, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to the students for their kind and valuable donation. Their gift is further proof that donations to the ACCC are an investment in the future of Afghanistan.

If you wish to join the students in donating to the ACCC to help build a better future for Afghanistan, please click here.

Student Essays on International Women’s Day

March 14th, 2008 1 comment

Although International Women’s Day has been celebrated for many years, it is only recently that it has been celebrated in Kandahar. Female students at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) have prepared a selection of essays in commemoration of this very special day.

Woman:

Woman means an angel on the earth. That with one hand shakes the cradle and with other hand earth.

This is the woman that all the scientists are borne from her. Therefore have a high place and degree in the world. Should take her name with dignity and respect. There for there is a day given in the history of world for woman.

Should give woman her rights better. All the facilities of life should be given to them. Therefore they could train their children better. A woman should work shoulder by shoulder with man and take part. More then this that they solve the home problems they solve the outside problems too. a woman is a mother, sister and wife.

In the forwarded and foreign countries all the woman rights are given to them. But unfortunately in our country the women are living in a lower state of life and are away from the all facilities of life. And like an animal or a thing is sold or bought and used. And don’t have a permission at home and society.

We have saw and heard that more than 10 women have suicides and are not given any rights. We are hopeful from all over the world that in section of freedom of women, violence and use of them as animals and a thing that is sold or bought. Should have attention, should hear their voice and should try to give them their rights.

Thank you.
Yelda

International Women’s Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world every year. It is a major day of global to be celebrate .This date is selected in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

International Women’s Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men.

Afghans used to celebrate the International Women Day in the fast; however, there were some constrains and impediments. This valuable ceremony was fully stopped during Taliban regime.

With the start of new government in Afghanistan, IWD celebration is being practiced by various national and international organizations. But the celebration is still symbolic, and has not been practically in place. Most of the Afghan women still face family violence and inequality. Yet most Afghan women face discriminations and differences in the society, and they are still not considered as an important contributor to man’s life.

The international community and Afghan government have started various projects and used different techniques to stop the discrimination and equalize the rights of man and woman in the society. There are some achievements, but still there a long way to go through until this culture changes.

We are hopeful and wish to see a society where men and women work together without any discrimination.

– Mahmooda

March 8th is a global day that belongs to someone without existence of whom no one can imagine our world, someone who is a kind mother, a caring sister, a good friend, a beloved wife and a big helper. Yes! It’s she, a woman. Women compose half of the glob’s population there for they play the most important and responsible role in a family, society and country’s success. Today women in almost all the societies are not limited to taking care of children, cooking food, cleaning the houses, but also working in big organizations on important posts as managers and business owners.

Islam our holy religion has clearly defined rights for women. They should have equal rights to get education, equal employment opportunities and to have their say in any decision taken for their career or future lives. When we talk about women and their rights unfortunately it should be mentioned that our society has a bitter experience in this regard. In some societies in Afghanistan they are not thought as human beings and not treated equally, however globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. In contrast to past in recent years violence against women has been increased and we hear incredible and horrible stories of women domestic abuse through news especially in rural areas. Underage and forced marriages are common and a woman’s consent is not thought necessary in a decision that influences her entire life. In such men dominant societies women become victims of these kinds of violence due to lake of education and awareness about human rights particularly women rights.

Education is one of the key factors to overcome differences. The life of an educated woman is completely different from that of an uneducated woman who is deprived of this universal right. A girl who goes to school will marry later, have fewer children, pay more attention to her children and family and will be more active in the community. As said by scholars, a child says give me an educated mother, I will give you an educated nation. Thus it is imperative to understand importance of women education. Just think if a country keeps deprived half of the population from education, how it will improve? Only education can break the vicious circle of poverty, having an education and economic independence are the two fundamental factors for women that help in the overall development of the community.

If the society treat women equally as men, give them the status they deserve, provide them the opportunity to get education and choose a career for their future and take part in political, social and economical issues of the country, the country will probably be moving towards a prosperous future. Only by celebrating women day and talking about their issues the problems will not be solved we need to take action. To make this possible we need to establish community centers and other awareness programs in rural areas which can help promote awareness of women of their rights and responsibilities in the society. Government and religious leaders should try to change laws and practices that allow gender discrimination. We ask the international community to support the Afghan government’s efforts to prevent crimes against women through its efforts towards reconstruction of country.

However, in recent years things have been changed rapidly in the country and great improvements have been made, we hope for better when Afghan women will have the right to get education, select their future career, freedom of expressing their opinions, equal rights of employment and the right to have their say in decisions taken for the future of their country.

– Sharifa

In the name of mercy Allah who is the king of kings.

Why dedicate a day exclusively to the celebration of the world’s women?

The United Nations General Assembly, composed of delegates from every Member State, celebrates International Women’s Day to recognize that peace and social progress require the active participation and equality of women, and to acknowledge the contribution of women to international peace and security.

For the women of the world, the Day is an occasion to review how far they have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development.

You might think that women’s equality benefits mostly women, but every one-percentile growth in female secondary schooling results in a 0.3 percent growth in the economy. Yet girls are often kept from receiving education in the poorest countries that would best benefit from the economic growth.

Until the men and women work together to secure the rights and full potential of women, lasting solutions to the world’s most serious social, economic and political problems are unlikely to be found.

And unfortunately in Afghanistan the people are celebrating this day and are promising that they will do lots of things, for pessimist women of Afghanistan, for instance, they claim for their right, establish schools, centers, and will protect these ladies in every circumstances. But in fact they don’t do anything, and they remember again these ladies on the same women day. So when they will claim for our right, when they will take action, on this issue. If they cannot do anything then they don’t have to promise these ladies, or if they can so then they have to take a quick action on it. In addition we should not keep today work for tomorrow. So these were so of my ideas and perceptions for them. And I would like to conclude my topic here.

– Sultana

SAIT student newspaper publishes stories on ACCC, Afghan School Project

March 4th, 2008 No comments

The Weal, the student newspaper for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), has published a series of articles regarding the group of students at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) who are currently enrolled in online business management training offered by SAIT.

The articles are presented as three parts:

Part 1 – The High Cost of Education (Jan 17th, 2008)

Part 2 – Learners in a Dangerous Time (Jan 24th, 2008)

Part 3 – No Easy Way Out (Jan 31st, 2008)

I hope you will join me in thanking the writers at the Weal for their thoughtful articles regarding the ACCC and the opportunities that it provides to many students in Kandahar.

Personal reflections of ACCC students: Governance

January 3rd, 2008 No comments

Here is a collection of student essays written on governance. I hope you will join me in thanking the students for their hard work on these excellent essays. The essays have been lightly edited for clarity.

Being a governor or controlling a government isn’t easy and to be a governor one must have high qualifications, know about the economy and politics. The governor has to assist the people and pay full attention to parliaments and select an expert person for each place. For example, a doctor should be selected for a health department and an engineer for engineering issues. If the governor were to select a doctor for ministry of defense, it wouldn’t make sense.

A governor should be a politician person and be understanding of people’s problems. He should meet them and make himself aware of everything. To be responsible he should invite people to see him so that he can hear what they have to say.

Above all he should think of them and show the exact direction to each one.

In every meeting different questions should be asked from each member of the parliament, until they understand how to behave when a president selects someone for the parliament. The first thing he should note is his skill, character and his experience, not his tribe and other family.

As well the member should be kind and close to his country’s people and should express his love to all the people.

If a governor tries to help only themselves and their relations then other people will be discouraged and will not be able to earn the income they deserve. The skills that a person needs to receive a job should be clear and a person should be hired based on those skills and not on their family connections.

Their target should be to work for the people and provide every kind of facility and assist to them in everyway possible. Then we will be able to have peaceful, progressive society and a country of peace.

– Yelda

Governance gives us the idea that local government groups guarantee that they can protect the people and community, or ensure that they do things the right way. The right people are comprehensive, honest, open, accountable and easy to approach. Unfortunately, in Afghanistan and particularly in Kandahar, governance is the root cause of all evil within our society. In fact, there are many who are corrupt who have high authority in governance, they are making decisions whether it will be for the betterment of our country or not. These rulers are doing their business on poor, needy, and pessimist people of Afghanistan. The major donors and financial associations are decreasing their help and loans on the condition that these rulers not have access to the money until the situation improves.

The reforms that ensure “bad governance” are undertaken in all Afghanistan, in addition some formal and informal actors are also involved in decision making. This can badly affect the situation of a country or community, as we are currently facing. For example, when the Coalition Forces go out on a mission or come out for research, there are those who inform the extremists that they are out in field. These corrupt people are aiding in the attacks against civilians, the army and the Coalition Forces by extremists.

We Afghans are optimistic and should have unity among us, and until the corrupt people stop their crimes and abuse of authority which is being destroying our country, and remove the corruption from governance, we should hold strikes, shout for the rights of people who under control of the corrupt people. If we really want to have safe, secure, and developed Afghanistan we can not stay silent and if we don’t insist on safety and security, the situation will be continue to be the same.

Every day there is another bomb blast, kidnapping of local people and killing of innocent people. Until we remove the corrupt people from governance Afghanistan will be backward, and the people will be needy and hopeless in their life. If the governance members are claiming for the protection of people, so they should protect us and remove all the corrupt personalities from the governance. In addition they should have unity among them to fulfill people needs and bring safety and security in our country.

– Sultana

Governance is about how local government corps ensures that they are doing the right things, in the right way, for the right people. Alternatively, we can say that the system by which people are directed and controlled is called Governance.

Basically, governance is like a formula for vindicating the basic solution for a dilemma in the society and it provides clear direction for the communities while giving out and receiving information so that it can take counteractive action and change itinerary, but unfortunately nowadays government organizations have a poor authority system. They rarely apply the right authority in the right way. Therefore, they cannot always see where problems are expected to occur or have occurred

Having an effective peace system with the characteristics of effective guidance and a affirmative culture with high standards of behaviour and decency based on having good governance. Since governance brings together many features of a civilization is therefore vital to apply the right government on the right way to the right people in order to evade all those uncertain demoralizing events which obliterates mankind ‘s career, and unable them to protect their rights.

Pitiable governance is at the heart of many public segment failures. It is not frequently a single failure or deficiency in supremacy that is dependable for a service failure, but an accumulation of aspects. Governance should consequently substance to everyone in our committee until that it can germinate trust, honesty, sense of humor and responsibility among the society.

In general, governance word is a common word in other countries where it is a main factor in a society, but regrettably our society is not even familiar with the word of governance. It is because that we have never seen any governance during the past two or three decades that Afghanistan faced a complex political, administrative economic and social challenge conflicts and there is no execution or governance on the drug trade, unsecured borders, and informal markets, which creates a conductive condition for administrative corruption and for all those cruel circumstances which is happing or may take place in the future.

The almost total absence of well-trained and accountable judiciary are leading the culture of security violations and depression, criminals are acting do not arrive at the courts, and the crimes go scot-free after all we have these things on going in our country so do you still think that we have governance or do you still think that our leaders have come up with the result of what they have governed so far in our community or to know whether the absolute powered governors do the work for the betterment of the society which unite the communities or for the drug lords & tribal lords? The ANSWER belongs to YOU!!

At the end, I would like to suggest all those supreme powered governors and owners that any future government in Afghanistan will have to make your mind up to the problems of the society based on population governance.

– Suhila

Afghan School Project to close forum, focus on facebook

December 14th, 2007 1 comment

Due to frequent abuses by Internet advertisers, we have decided to close down the Afghan School Project forum. If you are a student at the ACCC and would like to ask us a question or ask about web sites related to your education, please visit our group on facebook or e-mail [email protected]. 

The Afghan School Project is on facebook.com both as a group and as an application. By joining the group, you can help us improve the quality of education at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC), and allow us to promote our work without spending money on advertising. The application helps us to raise money for more computer equipment for the school.

To join the group, simply type “The Afghan School Project” into the search field in facebook, and request to join.  To add the application, please visit our facebook application page here. In order to join, you must first register for a facebook account. The amount of information that you wish to share with others on facebook is up to you, and you are not required to use your real name. We hope to see you there!

ACCC Featured on Global National

November 18th, 2007 No comments

This past Saturday, the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) was featured on Global National, a Canadian television news program. The video shows the Canadian public the benefit of education for women in Afghanistan, and included interviews with several of the school’s students.

I would like to thank the students for participating in the story, and wish to say just how proud all of us with the Afghan School Project are to be able to support such a worthwhile project. Although we work hard to help raise funds for the ACCC, it is the determination and courage of the school’s students and staff that is most important to the school’s ongoing success.

To see the video, please visit the Global National video archive, and look for the video entitled “Women After the Taliban” under the heading for Saturday.