Educational Opportunities: AGFAF believes that educated women are the key to securing social, economic and gender equality in Afghanistan. In our first ten years, we have contributed to the education of over 40 Afghan girls and women.
Our goal for the next ten years is to admit 3 to 5 new students per year. Working together with individuals and organizations on-the-ground in Afghanistan who understand our mission and share our beliefs, we continue to revise the selection process to insure we select the best and brightest students committed to improving the life of the Afghan people. Some of our new initiatives with regards to candidate selection include:
However, with costs that that often reach as high as $7,500 per year to meet student needs that are not covered by scholarships, all our efforts to bring qualified candidates to US institutions will mean nothing without sufficient financial support.
In addition to providing financial aid to AGFAF students through a four year college education, we are also looking forward to implementing a unique needs aid program for non-AGFAF students seeking funding for one-time expenses such as flights home or for unexpected school expenses. We realize that we function within a community in which small gestures can have immense impact.
Impact Projects: Our 3 libraries are helping to "reestablish a reading culture" in Afghanistan. Our belief is that education and reading open doors to a brighter Afghan future. To that end, each library has been equipped with hundreds of books in Farsi and English, novels and subject matter texts (history, psychology, etc.). Students and teachers us these resources on a daily basis. Book clubs in Farsi and English and story hour for younger children are a permanent part of our program in BPL and Andeshagah.
The second stage of development was a recognition that besides providing a place to read, study and do school work we needed to offer our students more. That is why we built a BPL classroom where we offer a broad array of classes, hold meetings and seminars. In addition to reading hour, writing, conversation, drawing and digital literacy classes, some of the more unique BPL classes include :
We now seek to replicate this approach at Andeshagah our second library. We are currently developing plans to furnish a classroom, install computers and move existing classes from the library and add additional classes too in our new classroom. We will also add internet service to Andeshagah so it is "fully equipped" like BPL.
At both BPL and Andeshagah we are now moving to a third stage of development, using our library and classroom resources to service the broader non-school community, offering Farsi literacy classes for older girls and younger women in the community. Andeshagah is preparing a combined literacy and sewing class for women in the school community to allow these women to develop financial independence to help support their families We will need to purchase sewing machines and supplies as well as hire a sewing teacher.
Finally, our Braille Library has several proposed growth initiatives. The Armaan Braille library was built with two rooms. The first houses books in braille and audio books. The second is an activity room with developmental toys and games for the vision impaired. Our students want higher level books in braille (both novels and subject area books). These will be obtained through book sellers in Kabul who can import these books from Iran, the only place they are printed.
Above all, both sighted and blind students eagerly seek English competency and digital literacy, realizing both these are keys to future success. We are currently developing a plan to initiate computer training/digital literacy and to expand our nascent English classes in all our libraries. We will need to purchase computers, provide internet, higher teachers, develop curriculum - the list goes on - and funding is needed.
If you prefer, checks may be made out and mailed to:
Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund
235 Main Street, #277
Madison, New Jersey 07940