Education

*Note: Unless otherwise noted, all information regarding education programming in Afghanistan is from 2019. Recent updates temporarily unavailable for safety and security reasons.

Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)  (new window)leads the Mobile Literacy Initiative in Afghanistan, a project initiated by the UNESCO Chair at Georgetown University with support from the Geraldine P. Waldorf Fund. Since support for the first few classes, AIL has been able to attract support each year and there is now a long waiting list of women and older girls who wish to take the class. The initiative teaches literacy through the use of mobile phones and texting interaction between teachers and students, using a curriculum developed by AIL and including 2000 messages on a wide variety of life skills subjects. Since 2012, there have been 2,291 women who have completed the class. After just four months, 73% of the students tested at the 4th grade reading and writing level. Students continue to improve, and, in 2018, 91.6% of the students tested at the 4th grade level. Most students continue their studies after completing the class. (Updated 2019).

Artists for Afghanistan Foundation (new window) has supported Afghan refugees to resettle in the U.S. and Canada since the return of Taliban rule in August 2021 and is focusing on providing Afghan women and girls with much-needed vocational training and educational resources in their new communities. AFAF is also supporting online education resources for Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan. Artists for Afghanistan Foundation was originally founded in 2000 to help raise awareness and advocacy around the plight of Afghan women and girls under the Taliban regime. 24 years later, the focus of AFAF remains the same. Artists for Afghanistan Foundation works with established NGOs and individual groups of Afghan women and refugees to provide them with clothing, foodstuffs, furniture, etc. and connect them with educational and job training resources. Since August 2021, 50 – 70 Afghan women and their families have been assisted by Artists for Afghanistan Foundation. (Updated 2024)

Aschiana Foundation (new window) supports the grassroots work of Aschiana’s programs in Afghanistan by providing children working on the streets and those in the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps with literacy and vocational training, healthcare, psycho-social recovery support, recreational activities and the opportunities to grow and develop in a safe environment. Aschiana, meaning “nest” in Dari, was founded in 1995 by Engineer Yousef Mohammed, who noticed the growing numbers of working street children—children who cannot attend school full time because they must work to support themselves and their families. Since then, Engineer Yousef has made it his mission to educate and empower these children. Today, in addition to the main center in Kabul, Aschiana operates in 6 provinces, and in 7 IDP camps—serving more than 3,500 children a day. Since its inception 20 years ago, Aschiana has served over 80,000 children. (Updated 2019)

Ayenda Foundation (new window) had an active operation in Bamiyan, Afghanistan from 2006 to 2021. During this time Ayenda educated thousands of students from pre-school to 7th grade in Ayenda School. In 2018, Ayenda launched a pre-school program, a curriculum not offered in Afghan public schools. Since 2015, Ayenda Foundation had partnered with the worldwide 10,000 Global Girls Initiative to improve and empower Afghan girls through storytelling, creative expression, literacy, and mentorship. Ayenda also provided scholarships to female students from provinces throughout Afghanistan enabling them to attend the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). After the tragic fall of Afghanistan in August of 2021, Ayenda has shifted its immediate focus to provide support to the Afghan Refugee children that arrived in the DC Metropolitan Area through Collaboration with the Lutheran Social Services of National Capital Area (LSSDCA). During this time Ayenda was able to provide a $25,000 grant to LSSNC in support of the Afghan Refugee families. Ayenda was able to provide more than 230 families, and 300 children, with the tools and resources to be safe, healthy, and successful in the early phases of their resettlement process. Most of the grant was used towards purchasing laptops, HP Chromebook, headset, car seats, booster seats and warm blankets. Ayenda was also able to provide a $10,000 grant to the AUAF in support of the 700 students that are studying online from Afghanistan. Despite the daily threats from the Taliban, the courageous students continue with their education as they know this is their only way out of the misery they are facing now. Ayenda is committed to provide educational opportunity to Afghans inside and outside the country. As we believe through the power of education, Afghans may be able to find a way to peace and stability. (Updated 2023)

The Bayat Foundation (new window) has nourished the lives of Afghans since 2005 by empowering primary, secondary, and university level education throughout the nation. In 2022, the Foundation launched ‘Mano Kodakam’, an innovative early childhood development (ECD) initiative aimed at increasing awareness around the importance of a child’s early years, and empowering Afghan parents and caregivers to give their children the best start in life. The application (available in both Dari and Pashto for free on both IOS and Android operating systems) inspires parents and caregivers to have more frequent, quality connections and interactions with children by highlighting do-able and desirable actions such as simple activities like “peek-a-boo” that are scientifically proven to have a significant impact on a child’s development. (Updated 2023)

Eagle Online Academy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing long-term online education solutions with a primary focus on benefiting women and girls. Our mission is to serve women in developing and war-zone countries who face significant barriers preventing them from accessing traditional education. Recognizing the immense opportunities that the Internet offers today, we strive to bring professional courses and educational opportunities right to their homes.

We offer an extensive catalog of over 200 online courses aimed to equip our students with essential skills for personal and professional growth. Additionally, the Courage Circle program provides essential mental health support to our students, including psychosocial education workshops and support groups. Our “Education to Graduation” program is specifically designed to cater to Afghan girls who have limited or no access to traditional schooling. Finally, mentorship is a vital component of all our programs. Our mentors share their professional skills and guide students on their journey from career development to leadership.

At Eagle Online Academy, our vision is to create a world where every woman and girl, regardless of their circumstances or location, has unfettered access to quality education. (Updated 2023)

The Foundation for Afghanistan (new window) awards scholarships to Afghan students and partners with local Afghan and U.S. universities and colleges to offer scholarships to Afghans, particularly young women. Due to restrictions on higher education for Afghan girls, the Foundations activities inside Afghanistan are on hold. (Updated 2024)

Friends of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) (new window), focuses on educating young Afghan women and men in Afghanistan. FAUAF has adapted to the constantly changing environment and the enormous demand for world class higher education in the country. By offering comprehensive and high quality education, FAUAF provides hope and purpose to their students in addition to connecting them with a variety of professional opportunities following their education. (Updated 2024)

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (new window) seeks to enhance U.S. national and global security by elevating and examining the effect of women’s participation to: improve peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building; strengthen conflict prevention and resolution initiatives; mitigate humanitarian emergencies; and foster democratic political transitions. GIWPS is particularly active on Afghanistan: Its Onward for Afghan Women (new window) initiative equips Afghan women leaders with opportunities to continue their advocacy on behalf of Afghan women and girls. Working with a vast network of Afghan women leaders, Onward conducts rigorous research and engages with the U.S. government, United Nations, and other stakeholders to continue to spotlight the rights of Afghan women and girls. (Updated 2023).

The Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (new window) is a four-year undergraduate education and leadership development program working to create Afghanistan’s next generation of women leaders in Afghanistan. The Initiative partners with U.S. colleges and universities to deliver undergraduate education to Afghan women who want to help other women of Afghanistan in their struggle for gender equity. The Initiative also provides leadership training and career guidance to prepare these young women for roles at the forefront of political, economic ­and social development in their homeland. (Updated 2019)

The Lamia Afghan Foundation (LAF) was established in 2008 to improve the lives of girls and
women through the building of schools (eight built) for girls, by providing economic opportunities for
women, and by providing vocational and job training for women. The LAF also provided
humanitarian aid to needy families in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)/Refugee camps, orphanages,
schools, hospitals, and rural villages.  To date, the LAF has sent over 3.5 million pounds of
humanitarian aid to 22 provinces in Afghanistan, supported four hospitals in Kabul with equipment
and supplies, moved an ambulance from Chicago to a clinic LAF helped to build in Khairabad, in
western Afghanistan, and humanitarian supplies for distribution to villages in Laghman, Nangarhar,
and Nuristan Provinces to help refugee returnees from Pakistan.  The LAF had provided teachers for a school in the largest IDP Camp in Kabul.

The Lamia Afghan Foundation currently improves the lives of girls by providing them a full
education. Since September of 2021, the LAF has established and run twenty-three schools (in
homes,) with twenty-five girls in each home school. The foundation takes girls through twelfth grade.
We have fully qualified teachers and a school coordinator to periodically survey and report on each
school. (Updated 2024)

Mothers as First Teachers, inspired by USAWC Honorary Co-Chair Hillary R. Clinton’s work in early childhood development (ECD), MAFT provides ECD and parenting instruction to Afghan mothers in northeastern Afghanistan, incorporating mobile phone technology, in partnership with Child Fund Afghanistan. (Updated 2019)

The Nooristan Foundation (new window) has continued to implement its “EmPower a Village” campaign,
which has been bringing light to villages since 2013 through electricity, followed by enlightenment from education. The concept has been simple and proven to be effective: Provide
micro-hydro equipment and involve communities in installation and maintenance. One of the reasons this program has been successful is the participation of the community in the project. In 2018, Nooristan Foundation began construction of the Bibi Aisha primary school in the western district of Nooristan province, once of the most underserved areas in the country. Since 2020, Nooristan has provided education to over 130 girls. Nooristan Foundation also launched “Encourage an Entrepreneur,” a program that teaches sewing skills for Afghan women and assists them in starting their own small businesses. Since 2020, the program has supported over 40 women begin their businesses, with 20 currently in the one-year training program. (Updated 2023)

Sesame Workshop (new window) has worked since 2011 to improve educational outcomes in Afghanistan and to foster skills and values that give the next generation the best chance for success. Created in collaboration with local partners, the Afghan adaptation of Sesame Street, Baghch-e-Simsim (“Sesame Garden” in Dari and Pashto), is a multi-media educational initiative designed to meet the developmental needs of children ages 3 to 7, their parents, and caregivers. To date, seven seasons of culturally relevant, Afghan-produced Baghch-e-Simsim programming have reached millions of children through television and radio addressing girls’ empowerment and gender equity, mutual respect and understanding, diversity appreciation, and the cognitive skills that help prepare Afghan children for school and life. Complementing Baghch-e-Simsim’s mass media programming, community engagement outreach initiatives extend the reach of the initiative beyond television and radio to further deepen impact in both rural and urban areas. (Updated 2019)

The Sunshine Lady Foundation (new window) was founded by philanthropist and change-maker Doris Buffett, who devoted her time and energy to advancing self-sustainability programs and educational opportunities for Afghan women and children. Through this foundation, Doris contributed $600,000 to help finish the construction of a school in Kabul, worked to empower internally displaced persons through community-based programs and even supported a solar paneling installation skills training project in Kabul. Doris passed in 2020, but her legacy lives on in the foundation and in the many lives she impacted (Updated 2023).

The Women’s Initiative to Strengthen and Empower (WISE) Afghanistan ensures girls in Kandahar gain access to quality education in a safe and inclusive learning environment. The main focus of the center, as a facility run by women for women in the community, is to empower women and girls with the tools and knowledge they need to achieve their full potential. The majority of girls have never taken an exam in their life and all of them are illiterate. For the students’ first two years, the center focuses on basic education, including Pashto, Dari, and English Literacy, Science, Mathematics, History, and religion. The WISE team then provides mentorship and training for the students to continue their education and particularly focuses on the areas of STEM and teaching. WISE has developed strong partnerships with local and international educational institutions and enables each student to continue their educational journey through our external partners. Over the last five years, WISE has also been supporting existing schools and orphanages throughout all five regions of the country with access to school supplies, trainings, and mentorship. (Updated 2019)