The home schooling classes became very popular, thereby creating capacity problems. In April 2009 we agreed to fund the construction of a classroom property in Qallah Asfand Yar owned by a man named Wahid. Wahid and Trust in Education entered into a 10 year rent-free ground lease. Wahid would have agreed to a longer lease, but we didn’t want to take advantage of him. We agreed to supply the materials and the villagers agreed to build the classroom.
The community learning center has carpet and 20 desks to hold 40 students. That’s enough capacity to accommodate all of the classes previously taught in the old room. The old room then became a computer classroom, after we provided the materials for refurbishment and the villagers did the work. The net effect of this undertaking is that over 150 children are no longer required to sit on the floor crowded in a small room, and are able to take computer courses.
When we arrived to visit in November 2009, most of the students were assembled inside the new classroom. Their greeting was deafening. We only wish that those who made these programs possible could have experienced what we encountered upon entering the room. We’ve never experienced such unbridled joy before. It was overwhelming. Several times, we were told by the students and teachers to deliver this message to our supporters on their behalf: “Thank you! You are in our prayers.”
The benefits of the community learning center were so compelling, we agreed to fund the construction of a center in Farzana’s village Qallah Khawaja Noor in the spring 2010. Farzana is a passionate, dedicated, creative teacher whose living room couldn’t begin to handle the number of students who wanted to take her classes.. She once said, “As long as there are children who want to learn, I will be a teacher.” Farzana is exactly the role model that Afghan children need to experience. She’s on the front line convincing those who would confine women to subservient roles to allow their daughters to attend school. In the spring of 2011, she proudly announced that there are now 100 girls attending high school who would not be getting an education were it not for Trust in Education’s support of her classes. She was able to achieve this in just three years. We will support Farzana as long as we are able.
We are most pleased to report that a more subtle change has taken place. When we first visited girls’ classes several years ago, many of the girls looked down or away. It was difficult for at least a third of the girls to make eye contact. Not any longer. They were seeking eye contact rather than avoiding it. We believe that educators, psychologists, psychiatrists, and observers of human nature would all agree that this phenomenon is at least in part a byproduct of education. The girls become more confident and self assured each year.
Total cost of the learning center on Wahid’s property, rug, and desks: $4,840
Raising girls with confidence: Priceless!