Ayni Education International Programs
Ayni has built and repaired 20 schools in Northern Afghanistan. We also equip schools with wells, latrines, desks, texts, supplies, and lab and athletic equipment. We set up libraries and computer centers; provide vocational and life-skills training and literacy courses; and set up parent teacher organizations. In addition, we strengthen the Afghan school system by working with various ministries, and we manage two teacher training centers.
We're not simply building schools; we're building bridges of understanding between our countries by connecting each Afghan school to a community/school in the US. In the Pacific NW, over a dozen schools are “journeying” with us, as well as civic and religious institutions, Rotary, family foundations & book clubs. Participants learn about Afghan history and culture through experiential activities, raise funds for the schools, and engage in cross-cultural exchanges.
In addition to promoting cultural awareness and diversity, we speak at educational forums across the US about our work, the importance of educating kids in the developing world, and alternatives for reducing extremism. We have developed a model cross-cultural curricula for engaging US students in philanthropy, diplomacy, and advocacy. We also regularly meet face-to-face with US Government officials to talk about global education, especially for girls.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
2012 was a year of considerable achievements for Ayni in Afghanistan. Our commitment to literacy for girls and women expanded to include a recent graduating class of 70 women in the Literacy for Life program design to provide women who were prevented from learning to read and write under the Taliban how to do so with job related skills. Our two computer centers operated at full capacity and the Ministry of Education requested that we maintain operations year-round. Plans for a third computer center are underway. These programs ensure that the definition of literacy keeps pace with the modern world and fosters connectivity via the internet to the wider world for young girls and women in Northern Afghanistan.
Cultural practices dictate that girls need female teachers to progress in their education. Ayni trains teachers to meet this need. Our program to transport 30 young women from a rural village six days a week is an ongoing need that fills a critical gap in the education of girls in rural villages.
In a nation where most girls leave school to get married at age 11 or 12, to have young women graduating and going to college as a result of building a school, is remarkable. The success of these students, despite hardship, is testament to courage of these girls and the strength of Ayni’s vision.
Despite these successes, thousands of Afghan children still attend school in tents without books, supplies, or qualified teachers. In 2013, we plan to continue transporting and training women to become teachers in Northern Afghanistan's schools so girls can move up in the educational system. We will also maintain our commitment to computer literacy and continue purchasing computers for our centers and raising funds for the teachers. In addition to the programmatic side of our efforts, we will continue to upgrade school buildings and repair a large school roof that was damaged considerably during the harsh weather conditions of Afghanistan.