Posts Tagged ‘women’s education’

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.

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

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.

Roshan’s generous donation to ACCC to be recognized with Roshan Computer Lab

February 5th, 2008 No comments

In recognition of the exceptionally generous donation provided by Roshan, a leading provider of telecommunications in Afghanistan, the second new computer lab currently being built at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center will be named the Roshan Computer Lab.

Roshan’s donation of US$2543 will be used to purchase the monitors and computer accessories required to equip the 20 NComputing devices already purchased, thereby creating two new computer labs of 10 computers each. The other lab was named the Brendan Choi Computer Lab in recognition of the generous donation made by Brendan Choi to the project. The ACCC currently operates three additional computer labs in support of classes in Information Technology, business management, health care and English language education.


I would like to express my sincere thanks to Roshan for their generosity in helping to support valuable post-secondary training for men and women in the Kandahar area. Over the years to come, hundreds of students will benefit from the use of the Roshan Computer Lab.


Meaning “light” in Afghanistan’s two most widely spoken languages, Dari and Pashto, Roshan brings a promise of hope, development, and a brighter future for the people of Afghanistan. 


Roshan is one of the largest private company employers in Afghanistan, directly employing over 900 people, 20% of whom are women. In addition, Roshan provides indirect employment to more than 20,000 people who work as dealers, distributors, contractors and suppliers. Roshan also works with 5 nationwide scratch card distributors, bringing Roshan and its products closer and more accessible to the Afghan people.