Trust in Education is a grass-roots organization, providing educational, economic and health care assistance to villages in Afghanistan. We inform and enlist Americans to become directly involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We serve as a tie between Afghan villages and American communities, and appeal to hearts and minds in both.
All the work we do in Afghanistan emerges from the partnerships with the villagers we have developed through more than eight years of experience in country. We strongly believe that the best way to determine what the villagers need is to ask them. Together we prioritize needs based upon the nature of the impact, number of people affected, and cost. We then fund as many of the prioritized needs as funding permits. We refer to this as our “wish list” strategy.
Education is the highest priority for both them and us. In addition to financing the construction of new schools and community learning centers, we enhance underfunded schools through the provision of after school classes, libraries, playgrounds, soccer fields and soccer programs. Economic development and small infrastructure projects are also usually very high on their “wish list.” For all construction projects, local Afghans volunteer to provide the labor and we provide the materials.
The process of collaborating and partnering is valuable in and of itself. At the end of the day the villagers OWN the community learning centers, wells, bridges, libraries, irrigation systems and classes, because they are instrumental in conceiving, building, and maintaining them. They move several steps closer to no longer being dependent upon us. This is a goal we all share.
We are an all-volunteer organization with only a part-time administrative assistant, so our financial support goes to pay costs in Afghanistan. Because building ongoing relationships and enabling Afghans to take charge is key to our approach, Trust in Education employs three Afghan program directors who work full-time in Kabul. They make numerous visits to the schools and villages we support. They are our eyes and ears and sensitive to cultural differences. They are also our principle means of communication.
Our American volunteers also make visits to the villages twice a year, security permitting, and communicate what they see and learn to numerous schools, organizations, and groups back in the U.S. Trust in Education learned early on that the challenge is not to just educate Afghans. We are equally committed to educating Americans.
Trust in Education has become a trusted messenger between Afghan families that need help and families living in the United States who are looking for ways they can. Through these exchanges both worlds discover they share more in common than not and families in the United States experience the joy of making a substantial and long lasting difference in the lives of thousands. We know Trust in Education can be a positive, effective, catalyst for peace between people who might otherwise fall victim to the rhetoric of extremists.