A4T recently completed another hugely successful Winter Training Program for two months for 22 students and three teachers from the Sheikh Yassin School. Please view this linked report and photos for the “2016 Winter Training Program”.
During the 2015 school year (3-21 to 12-21-15), a total of 265 female students attended the public secondary school in Sheikh Yassin, a village in the Chak District in Wardak Province. They attended grades 1 to 9, in the afternoon, and came from 4 nearby villages. This was an important milestone for the girls in this community to leave their home schools, where they had attended classes the previous 8 years. They were very happy to attend the first public school in Chak District. (The boys have been attending the school in a separate morning program, funded by the government of Afghanistan.)
Additional info. about our program:
- The girls’ school employed 13 teachers, a principal, vice principal, two guards and housed a science lab, a computer lab and library facilities
- 4th to 9th grades (187 girls) are funded by the Zakat Foundation of America, and monitored by A4T
- 1st to 3rd grades supported by the Afghan government
- Program started 2005 and has added one grade per year from 2007 to 2014
- Your Dreams Are Afghanistan’s Future: Promoting Education at Sheikh Yassin Girls School
Of the above mentioned school employees, the principal and 10 of the teachers were supported by funding from Zakat. Six of the 13 teachers were female and seven were male teachers. These male teachers are part of the staff of the boy’s school; four of them (plus the principal) were paid by A4T from the grant from the Zakat Foundation, while three were paid by the government. The lack of available female teachers qualified to teach higher grades necessitated breaking from tradition. To avoid any problems the male teachers were all older men, hired only after consultation with community leaders.
Many substantial upgrades to the girls education program were made in 2015, thanks to the Zakat Foundation, including the installation of solar panels to provide power for the 15 new laptop computers, 1 printer, a projector and water pump. A student from Nangarhar University volunteered to teach both computer and English classes, as well as train to our teachers so that they could lead these classes in the future.
Stationary and school supplies were purchased for students, as well as new chairs for some classrooms.
Thanks also to the Zakat Foundation, we provided school uniforms for all our students!
2016 Update: Unfortunately, there is no funding for the support and running of the school this year. A4T had no choice but to send the students back to their homes, until enough funding can be provided for the program.
Please Donate to continue the education of these girls! They are worth every effort. Each step forward for these girls makes a huge difference in their lives as critically-thinking adults. Last year Salma Essa Gul, a Sheikh Yassin 7th grader, wrote in a hand-written letter, “God bless those that are supporting us. We promise to our donors we will do our best to develop our society.” These students need more educational programs and YOU can make a difference!
The school year, began in early April, with 26 new first grade students. It is staffed by 7: 5 female teachers teach 1st – 6th grades, and a male teacher (volunteer from the boys school) and the school principal teach grades 7 to 9. The principal teaches math, geometry, physics and chemistry for 7th to 9th grade. School principal wants to make sure himself that the students are ready for their final exam in December.
Classes are taught in Pashto and all students have a class in Dari. Here are quotes from letters written by two students and translated into English:
“My name is Laila. I am in 6th grade at Sheikh Yassin secondary school, I am very happy that I am going to home class, I will do my best to study more and be an educated personality in the future. Thank you A4T for providing the education services for poor people of Wardak province. We have a very kind and nice principal and teachers. They are teaching very well and have good relationships with students.”
“My name is Spozhmay. (means ‘moon’ in Pashto) I am in ninth grade at Sheikh Yassin secondary girls home school.. From the blessing of the school and education I can read and write in Dari and Pastho, now I can read books which is very interesting and also I can speak English but not very well, I can introduce myself. My family is benefiting from my education as I am teacher of my family. I have as students: my younger brothers, sisters and my parents. They are good students. My mom did not recite the Qur’an before. Now I’ve taught her how to recite and she has no problem.
In the future I want to be a good teacher to support my sisters and community from darkness. I and all my classmates are all very happy in our home schools. We are thankful of A4T for providing the education opportunity for us. We want our community to always allow the girls to have their education. Every year families are interested in their daughters’ education. “
2014 and 2013 Winter Teacher-training program
The Winter Training Program in early 2014 was similar to the one held in early 2013. It successfully built capacity of those participating from the Girls Home Schools: two teachers and seven students from 8th and 9th grades. The courses were taught at the Farda-e-Afghanan private school from January 26 to March 25, 2014.
A4T launched this program in early 2012 when four female A4T Home School Teachers from Wardak participated in a 2-month winter teacher-training program at “Farda-e-Afghanan” school in Kabul. The program’s courses included: improvement on teaching skills and methodology, academic classes, rules and students’ personality genesis (Personality of Children)
At the end of each year’s program, the participants had a guided tour of the Afghanistan National Archive, National Gallery and National Museum of Afghanistan, in Kabul. They all enjoyed their tours and learned more about Afghanistan’s history and culture.
These programs were generously funded by the Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation (RAF) nonprofit, a longtime supporter of A4T’s education programs in Sheikh Yassin. The programs were planned, monitored and reported on by A4T. The main objective of the program is to build the capacity of teachers and students who have potential of becoming a teacher.
A4T built the Ismael Mayar Primary School in 2004 with help from many donors and volunteers. It opened in June 2005 with 120 girls in first through third grades. Since Oct. 1, 2006 it has been a boys school and the girls have attended classes in secret home schools, for security reasons, since 2007. The boys’ school is attended by 655 boys in two shifts per day, grades 1 to 9, coming from 3 villages. The school’s name was changed to the Sheik Yassin Secondary School in 2011 after the Afghan Ministry of Education began supporting it.
In the 2013 school year, 222 students were enrolled in grades 1 to 8 in five home schools, and followed the Ministry of Education’s curriculum again. 96% passed their subject tests and moved up to the next grade level in 2014.
A council of school principals in Wardak Province held meetings with the A4T principal during the year. A4T’s principal also attends meetings in our Kabul office twice in a month to discuss improving the Girls Home Schools. The teachers came to our office in August for a day of meetings with our staff, including a Skype conference call with a board member in the US. They are very dedicated hard working teachers who are bravely teaching our students in a conflict region of Afghanistan, year after year.
A4T Girls Home Schools: The 185 girls students attended classes in homes because of security situation, and were taught by seven female teachers with the principal of the boys’ school supervising them as well.
Seventh grade was added this year and classes followed the curriculum described below of the Ministry of Education.
Funding for the teachers’ pay and school supplies is thanks to a generous grant from Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation.
The Sheik Yassin Boys School, funded by the government, had 665 students, 14 teachers, a principal and vice principal.
A total of 162 girls were taught in three Home Schools, in 1 shift per day, from 1st to 6th grade (25 in first grade, 22 in second, 35 in third, 31 in fourth, 25 in fifth, 24 in sixth grade). A new teacher was hired for the 6th grade. The seven teachers of the girls classes all graduated from 8th grade, then were not allowed to attend high school during the Taliban rule.
The school, serving boy students, became a government school, funded by the Afghan Ministry of Education (MOE) Ministry of Education. A4T supported the Principal and Vice Principal who oversaw the educational programs for both the boys and girls.
The 610 boy students attended the boys school in two shifts/day, and 9th grade was added. Twelve teachers were paid by the MOE and two teachers were volunteers. Most of the male teachers are community college graduates. In 2011 the school’s name was changed to the Sheikh Yassin Secondary School.
We supported the Sheikh Yassin Boys School in several ways, including:
– hosting Afghanistan Education Day Celebration with a ceremony attended by teachers, students and the Shura defense group from the school council
– a pedagogy (teaching method) teacher-training meeting before the start of the new school year
– providing new books to the students
We thank the RAF for their generous grant and to all donors contributing to support our school programs!
There were 647 students enrolled at A4T’s Schools in Sheikh Yassin in 2010:
– 423 boys are attending the school in two-shifts per day, from first – eighth grades
– 118 girls are taught in six Girls Home Schools from first to fifth grade
The subjects taught at both Schools included: literature, geography, biology, math, science, Holy Quran and drawing- taught in Pashto. Dari language classes are offered as well.
Repairs to the three damaged classrooms were made (a new roof, plastered/painted walls and ceilings), enabling the rooms to be used by our students.
Earlier in the summer, new volleyball, cricket and badminton equipment was purchased for all students, and jump ropes as well! In August machinery helped grade a large flat area for a ‘sport court’ in the school’s yard so that the above sports could be played.
A new well was drilled at the school, to provide fresh water for the school also.
Despite the ongoing security issues in Wardak, we served hundreds of students: 448 boys and 10 teachers (at the school), 103 girls (in four home-schools for grades 1-3 , with 4 teachers), who otherwise would have no school available to them. Boys attended school in 2 shifts per day in grades 1 to 7. (Pashto is used primarily in all their classes, which follow the curriculum of the Ministry of Education.)
We are thankful for the continued support by our generous donor, the Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation.
The Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation has been one of the principle donors to Ismael Mayar Primary School for the past four+ years. They generously funded the budget for both the boys’ and girls’ schools again in 2008. We are grateful for their generous donations.
The Ismael Mayar Primary School, located in Sheikh Yassin, Wardak Province, is about one and a half hours drive from southwest of Kabul. It is the only school within a three mile area and boys come from two other villages as well to attend classes. In 2007 270 boys attended the school from first to sixth grades.
Due to the deteriorating security in Wardak, the girls, who attended the school from October 2006 to April 2007, did not return to the school building. However 55 girls attended first and second grades in home schools in the village since the summer. The students were successful in their classes therefore third grade can be added in 2008 and other grades later.
The school was staffed with ten part-time teachers, one principal and two guards and there are two teachers for the home school classes. The principal, Mr. Mohammad Aman, supervised the classes and had meetings with his school staff on a regular basis. He also met with the parents of the students and the village elders every two months in order to improve the situation at the school.
The normal school year for this A4T School is from March 22 and until early December. However, since the boys only began attending the school in October 2006, they continued to study their lessons during last winter.
Subjects taught: literature, geography, biology, math, science, Holy Quran, and drawing – in Pashto; and Dari language classes. Students also played volleyball at this school.
As reported below, our school was attacked and two classrooms burned in April 2006. We applied for and were awarded a grant of $2,500 in 2007 from the Society of Afghan Professionals (SAP) to cover most the repairs of the fire damage to our three classrooms (cost to replace the roof, ceilings, walls, doors and windows).
We greatly appreciate SAP’s generous grant to A4T for this purpose and supporting education projects in Afghanistan.
On February 2, 2006, some arsonists burned about 60 chairs in our school in Sheikh Yassin, Wardak Province, in an attempt to destroy the entire building. The one guard who had been hired was not present when the attack happened. Following this incident, the school director hired three guards. On April 3, 2006 the school was attacked at night by a group of ten men. The guards were tied up (then later released) and were told that the teachers would be in danger if they continued to teach. The school was partially burned but the fire was put out and reported to the police and the governor.
In May 2006, three others schools in the area were attacked and two were burned. We also requested that Mr. Ehsan Mayar, the land donor for the Wardak School, visit Sheikh Yassin to discuss the school with members of the community. Mr. Mayar came away with a positive report and agreed to turn the deed of the land over to the community. However, A4T needed more guarantees from the village and we closed the school for the safety of our students.
On June 23rd, a meeting was held in Kabul to discuss the future of the school and health clinic with six representatives from Chak District in Wardak and the Director of Ismael Mayar School, in Sheikh Yassin and A4T board members. The delegation members assured A4T of the community’s ongoing commitment to education. They told us that many of the 18 schools in the Chak District had been burned or targeted and that security was a problem throughout the Province. We stressed that it was difficult to find money for the Wardak school and that the school is funded by private donors and foundations. We explained A4T’s efforts to get help from the head of security for Wardak and from the Governor and how there were still no positive results from the investigation.
They assured us that from now on they would pay more attention to the school. We concluded that the Mayar family needs to share power in the village and A4T will only operate through the Shura’s structure, a structure based on local mutual consultation, that was non-existent two years ago.
In fall of 2006, the security in the district worsened and there was fighting ten miles from the school. The strong message conveyed by the villagers was that they wanted only boys to attend the school until it was safe for girls to attend -in a separate shift. We felt the safety of the teachers and students in the village was primary. We reinstated the operational funding for the staff and opened the school on October 1, 2006 to 200 boys. Temporary repairs to the building roof were made by the village, as requested by A4T. We will rebuild the damaged roof and walls in the future.
We will continue to help the people of Afghanistan and be stronger in the future to meet the many challenges facing our projects. We will do it for the sake of our students for whom we represent the only hope for a better future.
In mid 2005, Afghans4Tomorrow finished the construction of the 10-classroom school complex in Shekh Yassin in the Wardak Province. The school was named the Ismael Mayar Primary School, after the late Ismael Mayar, an important personality from Wardak, recommended by the villagers. This magnificent building was a collaborative effort between A4T, our donors, and the community in Wardak who helped with building some of the school and surrounding wall. It took two years to build this school – for 500 + students, in two shifts.
Enrollment grew from 61 girls on the school’s opening day on October 12, 2005 to 120 a week later, in first to third grades. The students were from 6 to 14 years old. After some meetings with community leaders it was decided at the time, that the school would begin as a school for girls, who had little or no education, and a shift for boys would be added in a year or two.
The school staff consisted of: nine teachers, a principle and two guards.
The school was inaugurated in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Education, the President of Primary Education, A4T president, A4T volunteers, Compassionate Service International, members of the community, students, teachers and the police force.
We wish to thank the Rev. Chloe Bryer, Dr. George Nez, Mr. Ehsan Mayar, Massud Mayar, The Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation, Partnership for Children and Peace in Afghanistan, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), the Dudley family, the Afghanistan Foundation, Partners for Peace in Afghanistan, the Episcopal Diocese of New York, many A4T volunteers, and individual donors for their support of this project.