Nooristan Mountain School
Since education is critical to Afghanistan’s future, the Foundation decided in 2009 to respond positively to a request for financial help from the Nooristan Mountain Schools (NMS), an Afghan NGO that establishes schools in Nooristan province which has very few educational facilities. With our support, NMS launched a primary school for some 70 girls and boys in Pasigam village in the northernmost part of the province. Our help has covered salaries for the teachers, rent, school supplies and other administrative expenses. The school’s operations have been coordinated with the Afghan Ministry of Education so that after several years of satisfactory functioning it can be incorporated into the government primary school system.
Vice President Mariam Nawabi consulted with NMS head, Mr. Abdul Bari Haider, in 2010 in Kabul about plans for constructing a permanent school building to replace rented quarters. In January 2011, President Marie Kux and Vice President Dennis Kux met Mr. Haider to review and firm up plans for a building project. We have provided NMS with the funds for purchase of building material and necessary equipment. The Pasigam village council has given the land and will provide free labor to build the school.
In order to ensure quality teaching, Mr. Haider and the Kuxes also met with Mrs. Sakeena Jacoobi, renowned educator (a Nobel Prize nominee for her work in promoting women's education) and head of the Afghan Institute of Learning. Mrs. Yacoobi very generously agreed to provide free intensive professional training for seven teachers, two of whom are women. The Foundation covered the travel and lodging costs for the teachers and training course took place in February 2011 before the opening of the new school year. Because of increased Taliban presence, the program has been on hold since the end of 2011.
Kandahar Teacher Training
In November 2008, the Taliban attacked the Mirwais girls school in Kandahar, throwing acid at the faces of students and teachers. This brutal action has not discouraged the girls from continuing to seek an education. On the contrary, there are now more students than before at Mirwais. But only 15% of the teachers have had formal training; most are only high school graduates and lack professional teaching skills.
To address this problem, we are financing a specialized training program organized at the Afghan Institute for Learning in Kabul for 30 Mirwais teachers. Mrs. Sakeena Yacoobi, Nobel prize nominee for her work in promoting women's education, is supervising the program. In 2001 when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, no girls were allowed to get an education. Today thanks to programs such as ours, 2.5 million girls are attending school. This is an impressive achievement.