Our one-year Village Skills Program teaches rural women who have missed out on an education, how to read, write and do basic arithmetic, giving them the opportunity to reach the equivalent of third grade.
They also learn about health, hygiene, nutrition and elementary first aid. Life skills also brings knowledge about
physiology, psychology, human rights and conflict resolution. The second semester of this course includes dressmaking, tailoring and embroidery. The sewing machine which the women receive on graduation helps them to establish their own business.
Outcomes of this program are far reaching. Women tell us they are much more involved in decision-making in their families and communities; the health and well-being of their families and the broader community has improved; and, crucially, they have become role models for other young women in local level leadership.
In 2016/17 120 rural women participated in the program bringing the total to over 1,350 in 58 villages.
We thank Cabrini Health for funding this program.
Here is what three of our participants have to say about the program:
ANAHITA, aged 22 is single and was burned by a gas explosion. She joined our course in Saray.
“My mother died in war and I have a stepmother who does not treat me well. My father has other children and struggles to support our family.”
Anahita has become a very good tailor and works in a group with her classmates and at home. She earns a good income and can now help her father and enable her only brother to attend school. Her brother also helps Anahita sell her garments in a weekly bazaar day of the village. Anahita has expressed her happiness, appreciation and joy to the organisers of the project.
NAJLA has three children and her husband was killed in an accident. She says: “My father and my brother were helping for a while but when my brother got married and had his own children he stopped assisting us and I was very worried about our life ….. When I heard about AADO literacy course and vocational education (tailoring) I joined the course and because of AADO assistance I can sew people clothes and earn money from that and continue my life and I thank AADFO organisation from all the assistance to us.“
JAMILLA lives in Qalai Faiz village of Qarabagh district of Kabul province
“I am trainee of life skills program. I am married and have 4 children ( 3 daughter and 1 son ). My husband died 4 years ago. I was interested on learning from childhood but according to tradition by early marriage I got married and due to could not attend school. Right now I have a bakery and by working in my bakery I can gain income for surviving of me and my family.
While I have heard about life skills program of AADO (literacy and tailoring) in my village tried to participate in mentioned course, now I am trainee of this course. It was my dream to be a literate person, now I am literate and can read and write.
This year (2017) we trialled a Village Greenhouse Project in response to the requests from women in two villages who had previously graduated from the Life Skills program and were keen to grow their own food.
We built two greenhouses which are very necessary in Afghanistan’s cold winters. One greenhouse collapsed after a heavy fall of snow but was reconstructed without much difficulty and by spring, seeds and seedlings were again thriving. The smaller 4-person greenhouse has now transitioned from vegetables to flowers which will eventually sold at market as a source of income for the women growing them.
12 women took part in the program. Most are widowed with children and do not own land so it has been a good opportunity for them to grow fresh food for their families.
Staff from Kabul, headed by our cook who comes from a country village, visit regularly offering guidance on cultivation and pest control to ensure the greenhouses are productive. Assistance has also been given by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The trial has been a success and we hope to raise funds to extend the project to other villages.