Posts Tagged ‘women’s rights’

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]

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.

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

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.

Ehsan Ullah delivers assistance from Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan to victims of recent attack

November 17th, 2008 2 comments

Ehsan Ullah, Director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center, has delivered financial assistance on behalf of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan to victims of the recent acid attack against students of the Mirwais Nika Girls High School. The financial assistance will be put towards the victims’ medical and transportation expenses.

Ehsan is working with Rona Tarin, Director of the shorter its The are like.

Womens Affairs Department, to determine how best to assist those affected by the attack. Members of the Afghan School Project were also involved with the co-ordination of the financial assistance.

I hope that you will join me in expressing our deepest condolences to those affected by this attack. I would also like to recognize the courage of all those

who continue to attend their studies under such difficult circumstances. We look forward to the day when the women of Kandahar can attend school safely, without fear of violence.

Governor of Kandahar Visits Afghan-Canadian Community Center

August 11th, 2008 No comments

On July 24th 2008, the staff and students of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) were deeply honoured by a visit from the Governor of Kandahar, Asadullah Khalid, his Chief of Staff and distinguished guests from Kabul, including the former Afghan Ambassador to Belgium. The visit was also attended by journalists from Reuters, Al-Jazeera, and Belgian National Television.

Ehsan Ullah, Director of the ACCC, briefed the Governor and guests on the activities and progress of the school. The Governor also spoke with

students enrolled in online business management courses with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), who noted that the SAIT training had improved their standard of education and helped them to secure highly-paid employment.

The Governor praised the many achievements of the staff and students of the ACCC. He referred to the school as a “heroic step” for education in Kandahar, and thanked the Government of Canada and individual donors for their support of the ACCC. The Governor further pledged to meet with Ehsan at a later date to discuss potential government assistance to the ACCC.

Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid and Distinguished Guests

Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid Speaks with ACCC Student

Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid and ACCC Director Ehsan Ullah

ACCC featured in CBC documentary “Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear”

April 6th, 2008 No comments

I’m proud to announce that the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) was prominently featured in a documentary produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The documentary, entitled “Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear”, examines some of the problems currently effecting the Afghan people and asks whether progress is being made. The achievements of the staff and students of the ACCC were showcased as one example of success.

 To watch the documentary online, please click here.