The aim of the non-profit organisation registered in Germany in the name of Afghanistan-Schulen – Verein zur Unterstützung von Schulen in Afghanistan e.V., and its partner organisation VUSAF Union of Assistance for Schools in Afghanistan is to support education for Afghan girls and boys from nursery school to university as well as vocational training. Due to war and unrest, most schools are either destroyed or damaged. Furthermore, many villages never had a school in the past. In order to work effectively, we concentrate our efforts in the North of Afghanistan. We consider our projects as help for self help. We work closely together with the people in the towns and villages. Our partners suggest the projects and together we try to implement them in a culturally acceptable way.
1983 during a holiday together with her daughters, Ursula Nölle saw the suffering in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. Because of her daughter's knowledge of Dari, they managed to get in direct touch with the people in a camp where first schools were being set up. Ursula Nölle's first project was a girls' school, a project which was especially important as girls don't have many chances to be educated. In the following years, many more schools were set up in the camps.
Immediately after the withdrawal of the soviet troops in the north in 1988, people who knew the committee from the refugee camps asked for help to rebuild the schools in their home villages. In the following years, more projects were implemented in this area. In 2002 the office of the partner organization VUSAF moved from Peshawar/Pakistan to Kabul. By the middle of 2013 we had built in Afghanistan (Kunar, Samangan, Balkh and the four northern districts of Faryab) 47 new schools and 11 additional school buildings and repaired 12 others. In order to supply drinking water for the school children, the committee finances the construction of water reservoirs and the digging of wells.
In Andkhoi and the surrounding villages in the four northern districts of the province of Faryab in the Northwest of Afghanistan (approx. 300.000 inhabitants), the committee continues to support the schools, especially with the construction of classrooms and water reservoirs, the digging of wells, the supply of school furniture and through the small projects funds which enables the schools to implement projects themselves.
However, there are still deficits in the state education system, especially because of the need to improve teacher training. Therefore, we have set up an Education Centre (EC). Young people who aim to study at university can revise here all school subjects from grade 10. For students of grades 7 to 9 we offer courses in mathematics and languages (Pashtoo, Dari and English). Furthermore, there are additional English courses and computer training. In the workshop of the EC grounds, young men were trained to become electricians (previously we trained carpenters).
Furthermore, there are some cultural activities in the form of calligraphy and painting courses and competitions in poetry and quizzes. From time to time girls and women meet here for special activities. The EC's library has a good supply of books in Dari and English.
In private homes, three-year courses are offered for older girls and women who want to try to catch up with lessons missed during the Taliban rule. After a three-year training period, some of them join state schools from grade 7. For young women in the villages, we offer courses with a duration of 18 months during which they study reading, writing and arithmetic three days/week and on the other three days they are learning to sew. Additionally, they are trained in health subjects for mother and child. After conclusion of the course they can keep the sewing machine enabling them to earn money by making dresses for women and children. Two days per week they go to the Women's Centre which we set up next to our Education Centre where they will also be in contact with customers who want to buy or sell what they made at home.
Much has been achieved, but there is still lots more to be done!
Approx. 40 % of the schools in all Afghanistan still do not have a proper building, but children are taught in ruins, tents or in the open, other schools are growing and new additional classrooms are needed, and also there are still deficits in the quality of teaching. Therefore, if our donors - maybe you? - continue to support us, we are willing to continue our efforts in constructing new school buildings and in running courses to help improve the education.