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Poverty Alleviation Projects

September 8, 2008

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your August 2008 report for The $10 Club.

We are all well familiar with the plight of the people of Afghanistan as a result of the repressive Taliban regime. And we all know from popular media reports that things today are infinitely better in the country than they once were.

But there is still significant hardship there. The country has been hit by a severe draught. Thousands of children are working in practical slave labor situations to pay off their family’s debts. Over half of the country’s inhabitants live in malaria-prone areas. Taliban-laid landmines are impeding the return of thousands of internally displaced people to their homes. Children are leaving school to help raise money to feed their families.

Creating Hope International (CHI) has partnered for more than a decade with the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) to operate Educational Learning Centers in Afghanistan. AIL serves 350,000 women and children annually, is run by women, and employs about 480 Afghans, over 70% of whom are women. AIL’s mission is to empower all Afghans who are needy and oppressed by expanding their health and education opportunities and by fostering self-reliance and community participation.

AIL has been very successful in working with rural and poor communities in Afghanistan to educate women and children who otherwise would have no access to literacy services. They now wish to open two new centers in Herat, Afghanistan: the Sufi Abad Center and the Rabaat Kashmir Center.

This month, 360 of us joined together to donate $3,600 to Creating Hope International to support these two learning centers. Our funds will be used to purchase paper, chalk, books, notebooks, heaters and fuel for winter, floor covers, and markers; additionally, we will underwrite vehicle fuel and maintenance costs for supervisors to travel to the Centers, as well as the salaries for teachers, guards, and cleaners. We will be underwriting the operations at these two centers for the next six months. Thank you!

The Sufi Abad Center is in a poor area of Herat city, where students usually walk over two miles to attend the school. Our grant will assist the 49 students there (32 female), in gaining an education in literacy (both English and Arabic) and computer classes. The Rabaat Kashmir Center is located in an area where teachers had worked without receiving any salaries previously. This Center serves 97 students (50 female).

I asked my colleagues at CHI for some stories to illustrate the need of their work and I share two below. Sadly, they came with a disclaimer asking me not to reveal their names or locations because of security concerns: “these women/girls come from very conservative communities who at least are allowing females to be educated. We don’t want to jeopardize this or the person in the pictures.” People still clearly live in fear.

One woman in an AIL literacy class says: I am very happy from this center. Before I came here I could not write and read, but since the last three months that I have attended the literacy class here, I can read and write now. I am very happy because I can help my children and I can increase my knowledge through reading books and papers. It is really true when people say an illiterate person is like a blind person.

Another says: We are poor people and villagers and have a very hard life. Our families preferred not to send their daughters to school because the government school in the village had no professional teachers. Also, women and girls must work in the fields and take care of the animals and home.… I hope one day I could have the same life like other girls that live in the city and have all educational facilities...

If you are wondering how difficult education is in Afghanistan, consider this, from the recent report Education for All by 2015: Will we make it?: “In Afghanistan, the burning and bombing of schools and the killing of teachers and students severely affected education provision in some provinces. In 2006, Afghanistan’s president stated that 100,000 children who had gone to school in 2003/04 were no longer attending.”

September 8, 2008 has been declared “International Literacy Day” by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is fitting that we make our grant to assist education in Afghanistan on this important day. There are still many years of rebuilding ahead in Afghanistan, but I’m very proud that together we’ll play a vital role in the educational development of the country’s beleaguered citizens.

I read one story back in May about poverty in Afghanistan being so bad that a man sold his 11 year old daughter for $2,000 to collect enough money to feed the rest of his family and spare them from starvation. This should never happen, and I wish we could provide for everyone in the country. But hopefully with an education – that you are helping to provide – some of these folks will be able to begin their climb out of destitution.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

Thank you so much for your previous support!
Please continue to spread the word so we can grow!

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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