One of our TIE volunteers, Marie, has won a PTA Reflections award for the video she made for the Afghan children in our programs. In case you missed it:
As “The Girl Effect” so aptly describes, educating girls makes a big difference to society in the long run:
* When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
* An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
* A higher level of schooling among mothers leads to better infant and child health.
Trust in Education is all about giving the girls (and boys) in Afghanistan a chance.
TIE Video made by Marie McCoy-Thompson, age 17 (Girl Scout Gold Award project)
|One of our computer classes was burglarized a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately we had enough computers to replace the computers. We must, however, buy flat screen monitors. When people upgrade their computers, they hang on to their monitors. We’re always in search of flat screen monitors, should you decide to upgrade yours.
One of the difficult challenges for us, is to know when and how to withdraw financial support. We want to create programs that eventually are self-supporting. No one knows how long TIE can continue.
The burglary presented us with an opportunity to appeal to the families to contribute to the computer program. The teacher was asked to approach the families with a request to contribute $2 a month. This would not be enough to pay the cost of the program. Only five of the 60 families have agreed so far, and most have declined. One day we will require contributions from families that can afford to contribute and see what happens. It’s a difficult call to make. We don’t want to deprive children of an opportunity to learn, because their families decide it’s not worth it. We already have enough trouble convincing fathers to let their daughters attend. Yet, we must move toward the day when they are no longer dependent upon TIE. It’s not in their interest to be dependent on anyone. That struggle is, for now, being reserved for another day.
REMEMBER THIS BREAKTHROUGH?
Over a year ago we were asked to pay the cost of constructing a soccer field in the village of Quallah Loqman and to fund a soccer program. We agreed and asked whether they would have a soccer program for the boys and one for girls. At first we were told a program for the girls would not be possible. Six weeks later I received several photos, including the one above. The headmaster of the girls school had organized a program for the girls. As most of you know this was a major breakthrough, a foot in the door to establishing girls soccer in the area. For more info on that feat, click here.
This April we asked whether they could add a soccer program for the older girls. The headmaster said it’s too soon. The village isn’t ready. But, as these girls grow older, she said, they will de facto have a soccer program for older girls and will then be able to add a program for younger girls. The seeds were first planted in Quallah Loqman. And the girls are having fun! (see video)
THE SEEDS GROW!!!
In April we were asked by the village of Reshkor to add playground equipment to their school for girls. We did. We were also asked to fund the cost of providing additional math and science classes after school. We are. Recently they asked TIE to provide the funds needed to add a soccer field and a soccer program. We have said we will, if their parents agree to provide their children with the soccer clothing and shoes they need. Note the attempt to introduce cost sharing into this request. We’re waiting for their response. We also asked them if they would have a soccer program for girls. THEY WILL!
Reshkor is located very near Quallah Loqman. Inter-village soccer play for the girls is not far away.
PASS IT TO ME!
All things considered, we’re doing fine, and looking forward to doing more, notwithstanding setbacks and world events.
From our most recent newsletter: TIE’s recent setbacks are minor. Its recent new undertakings are having major impact. Some of both are reported below. The time/progress graph will never have a straight line. The gratifying news in these uncertain times is that we are not being forced to downsize. At least, not yet. Continue to enlist others though. The impact on the economy of Washington’s inabilility to function will certainly adversely effect donations this year.
Afghan Resolve Personified
A few weeks ago I wrote to you about the attack on the dome classroom located on the school construction site in Farza. A rocket was fired into the dome. The night guard, Farim, was seriously injured in the attack and spent several days in the hospital. He’s back guarding the materials at night.
According to the villagers, the attack was not on the school or the education of girls. It was an attack on the shape of the dome. One religious leader had pronounced that only mosques should be built in the shape of a dome. Some followers decided to take action. Our dome and two others were attacked the same day.
The Afghan government announced they intended to dismantle and take the dome structures. Last I heard, the villagers were trying to persuade the government to allow our dome to stay. We had planned to propose using the dome classroom for computer classes, once the school was completed. Now we must contend with the government, a fanatic religious leader, and a developing controversy over the shapes of buildings.
Zohra Leads the Way
Zohra is the young Afghan woman, now living in Berkeley, who convinced us to raise funds to build a school for 350 girls in her village, Farza.
Two weeks ago she called to let me know that she was willing to go to Farza and oversee the final phases of construction.
The villagers are very excited she is coming. We’re very pleased as well. It’s been difficult to stay abreast of the construction and impossible to monitor from here.
In addition to orchestrating the project to completion, there are tremendous side benefits to Zohra going. The men will be working with and getting direction from an educated, independent, and self-assured Afghan woman! The entire village will know and see how important a woman has been to this project. The women will be cheering her on from a distance. The girls will be in awe.
To provide you with some sense of how significant this is, at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the school (a school for girls, mind you) not a single woman or girl was present. “It’s a man’s world.”
I look forward to the day when we can send you a photo of Zohra, standing at the jobsite, clipboard in hand, conferring with and directing the construction workers. That photo will qualify for a prominent spot on the refrigerator.
We boomers know all about the evolution of women’s roles and rights. In 1967, there were less than 15 women in my first year law school class of around 300. Today over 50% of first year law and medical school students are women. Whose idea was it to give women the right to vote? It may be time to revisit the 19th amendment to the Constitution.
Incidentally, women have the right to vote in Afghanistan. In the previous election, an Afghan woman ran against her husband to represent their district. She won by a very large margin. They are no longer living together, so the story goes. Defeating your husband in an election apparently creates an irreconcilable difference.
More to come.
Nelab, one of the street children sponsored by Trust in Education, has become first in her class! She is very hard working and intelligent. Nelab’s brother is mentally ill and needs regular treatment. Her mother washes the neighbors’ clothes to support her family. Nelab said, “If my father was alive, my family wouldn’t face such a situation. I wish one day, my brother would be fine.” Nelab is very thankful for the American school children that support her. Without their support, she couldn’t continue her education.
To create a better life for their daughters, the villagers of Farza are hard at work on Zohra’s school for girls. They are volunteering to build this school which will have 10 classrooms and educate 350 girls who currently have no school in the village. It is great to see the progress–the classrooms are taking shape!
The progress is even more remarkable because a few weeks ago a rocket was launched at the dome on site that was to be used as a classroom. It turns out that some Taliban feel that the “dome shape” should only be used as a mosque, not a school. Though the guard was injured and had to receive medical care, the villagers are undaunted and not only continue to build the school but also repaired the dome. We have to admire these Afghans who are going great lengths to educate their daughters.