This autumn we were unable to travel to Afghanistan due to the Corona Pandemic and security concerns. Fortunately, we have reliable partners in Afghanistan: VUSAF, our representatives as "foreign NGO", and OASE, "Organisation of Afghan Support for Education"(founded in 2018 by former VUSAF employees as national NGO). We feel very well informed: The teams send reports twice a month on the progress of the projects, and we have regular video conferences.
We are very happy that our partners have achieved so much in Kabul, Mazar-e- Sharif and Andkhoi despite the difficult situation, in particular that they have been able to initiate and successfully implement new projects with great commitment.
The activities at our education center and the two women's centers were limited to some extent from the middle of March to the middle of August. Fortunately, the building measures were not affected by the corona restrictions. All construction projects for school buildings which started last year are now completed, furnished and handed over to the school authorities.
Mir Ahmad Niazi, country director of OASE, reports from Mazar-e-Sharif:
"Before the lockdown, we had organized teacher training workshops for biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics; one took place in February in Aibak (Samangan province) with 61 participants and another in March with 84 participants from 10 high schools in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Monthly meetings in the schools to build a network between the schools could not take place during the lockdown. When it became foreseeable that the schools would open again, these meetings were held again in August. Now we were able to organize workshops on school management for school principals of four secondary schools and ten high schools. Last year, the participants learned about modern management tools, which they will now use together with the teachers of their school to work out a school development plan. Many schools are very committed to the project.
During the lockdown, teachers of our nine computer courses stayed in touch with their students through WhatsApp groups. Several times they met in small groups to hand over teaching materials. With the opening of schools for the upper grades in August, the computer courses are running normally again.
We were able to complete two extension buildings with four large rooms each and four buildings with two rooms for libraries and school laboratories. Solar systems were installed at nine schools to pump water from deep wells to be able to irrigate the school gardens.
In May / June, we provided food and other relief items to 200 extremely needy families".
Asef Saadat, country director of VUSAF, reports from Andkhoi:
"The situation in the four districts around Andkhoi has been dramatic during the last six months. Government troops fought against the Taliban who had been in control of the districts of Qaramqul and Qurghan since August 2019. Many families had fled to Andkhoi. Covid-19 and quarantine measures, rising prices, high unemployment and school closures hit us at the same time and made life very difficult. But now our situation is improving: Qaramqul and Qurghan are again under control of the local government and the displaced people can return. Hardly anyone thinks about the Corona virus anymore. Many people have gone through the disease, some have died. But we all depend on daily work to feed our families. Thanks to your donations, we were able to provide food and hygiene products to about 450 families. Over the last few years, our employees had collected about 4000 € from their salaries which was kept in a social fund. We decided to distribute the money now to the poorest families - and were very happy with this decision.
At the Education Center in Andkhoi (EC), all courses and activities re-started in the middle of August. During the summer the library remained open for individuals and small groups. Teachers kept in touch with their students via WhatsApp. In cooperation with the local TV providers, we broadcast our lessons on television. This was highly appreciated by the local population. We were able to reach many more people than just our own students. Now the students are back at the EC studying with great interest, even though they have to wear masks and observe the hygiene regulations here. The hunger for knowledge is enormous. There are still many more students who would like to join, but all the courses are full. In the province of Faryab, the entry exam for university took place during the lockdown. Out of 892 participants from the four northern districts around Andkhoi, 377 passed the exam. 100 of them were from our EC preparation course. We are proud that at the provincial level, three of our students achieved the highest scores. Sayeed Sarem came first, Azizullah came third, and Enjila was the best of the female students in Faryab province!
This summer we worked together with the school committees to construct three additional rooms for the Moh. Yosuf Middle School. A library for the Arabshah Girls High School is under construction now. In both projects we have been working with the school development council; additionally, they collected money in the community to provide a roof in better quality than we could planned.
Additionally, 300 sets of tables and benches at € 30 each were made and handed over to four schools. However, still many more are needed considering the great number of school students.
And now one more request: The school buildings of Sadullah Shaheed Boys' High School in Qaramqul District and Mir Said Baraka Girls' High School in Qurghan District were built many years ago in simple quality. Now both need urgent repairs. The state has no money for this in the foreseeable future. We very much hope that donations can be collected in Germany to maintain these school buildings!
The women's projects are also running well again as before. During the lockdown, the ladies had met in small groups in the two women's centers in Andkhoi and Khancharbagh. Visitors were welcomed by appointment.
Farkhunda, assistant for the women projects, and other members of the team, report as follows:
"All courses at WCA are running well. Many women are coming to the gym again to train under the guidance of Mobina. During the lockdown Mobina was only able to work with them in small groups and sometimes at home. Now she is doing her best to introduce new effective fitness exercises.
Recently we started our third sewing and literacy course in Quzaymaq Khana. It is nice to see that another group of 12 young women is benefiting from our courses. They are happy about the chance to learn sewing, embroidery, math, reading and writing in Dari. In their village sewing workshop they learn for four days and in the women's center in Andkhoi for two days. Here in the city they can talk to other women and attend lectures."
Zakira, the literacy teacher, writes: "The students are very interested and enjoy the variety: working in groups or in pairs, doing writing assignments, speaking in Dari (they speak Uzbek at home) and role-plays. Our health education is vital. Their new knowledge for example about vitamin C, hygiene or the environment has positive effects in their daily behaviour. This is good for the women and their families".
Farkhunda further reports: "The students of the Women's Center in Baghebustan (WCB), which has been closed since August 2019 because of the Taliban, visit us in person or call on the telephone to put a lot of pressure on us to re-open the center as early as possible. This makes us very happy and moves us all very much. The atmosphere in the Andkhoi Women's Center was more colorful while they were coming here. But now we hope to re-open the WCB soon thanks to the improved security situation.
Under the leadership of the General Director of VUSAF, Zabiullah Azizi, a workshop with all senior staff members has just been held in Mazar. Some newly employed staff had also joined them. Therefore, capacity building and team building were the main objectives.
They assured themselves once again that they will work intensively together to provide better education to the youth and thus hope for a peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan.
For this they still need your help! Every Euro can contribute to this!
Afghanistan-Schulen - Verein zur Unterstützung von Schulen
Bank: Hamburger Sparkasse, Adolphsplatz, 20344 Hamburg
IBAN: DE37 2005 0550 1008 2258 05
If you would like to donate for people in need to help us distribute food so that they manage to get through the hard winter months, please donate to the above account mentioning the word "winterhelp". Thank you very much. We are planning to distribute 50 kg flour, 14 kg rice, 5 kg pasta, 5 kg beans, 5 l cooking oil, tomato puree, sugar and tea worth USD 70, which is enough for a family of 5 to 7 people for about one month.