For the duration of the winter capacity building course, some girls are living in host families’homes.
In mid-December, Nai Qala teacher-trainers travelled to the village of Zeera Gag, where the Nai Qala Association built a school in 2015, to launch a new course of capacity building.
Nai Qala had already run this program in the village of Zeera Gag last winter, during the school holidays. It was meant for over 200 girls. But gradually the numbers of girls reduced every week; indeed, many girls were living in the remote villages where there are high risks of snow avalanche and tough weather condition. All the girls who could not attend the course were very sad.
This summer, many determined parents who shared their daughters’ disappointment, approached families who live near the school of Zeera Gag. Many families agreed to have a girl live with them for a period of 3 months, the duration of the capacity building course. In return, these parents have agreed to give host families some wheat or cheese.
Just in the last few weeks before the start of the course, over 10 girls between age 16 and 18 were already living in their new houses, impatiently waiting for the Nai Qala teachers to arrive, and to benefit from the course.
For this year, the course is planned for 160 girls.
To know more on the capacity building project, click here.
Mothers are enthusiastic about the early childhood education program
Mothers whose sons and daughters attend the early childhood program are impressed by the progress of their children and are very grateful to the Nai Qala Association for providing such a class. Four of them shared their testimonials:
Setayesh (6 years old) and Elena’s (5 years old) mother: “My daughters learnt how to read and sing, greet people and to be polite. They learnt and then explained the five senses to the family. I never thought about this … and found it very interesting. Every day when my children come home and share their new knowledge with me, it fills my heart with a happiness and joy that I have never felt before. My children are different from the other children. If Nai Qala Association were to experience financial difficulties one day, we would contribute to the class to help maintain such an important program for our children. We will do anything for our daughters!”.
Saraj ‘s (4 years old) mother: “My son is very careful about his clothes and tries to play in a safe environment. Before these classes, he used to play in the dust and in dirty places, but now it’s totally different. Playing in a clean place became part of his dignity and discipline. He greets and shows respect for everybody. Within just four months, he has become another boy. He learned things that I could never think of how to tell them to my child. Now I know how it’s done and how to talk with my child. I am very grateful that Nai Qala provides us with such an important program. I hope the Nai Qala Association will continue such a program. If not, we will continue this program by ourselves”.
Marina’s (5 years old) mother: “My daughter comes home, shares and sings all the songs she learned in the class. It brings so much happiness to our home. Marina behaves totally different at home, her way of talking, eating, listening, greeting… The notebook that has been given to her in the class, is a big motivation for her. She reads and write without stopping. When I see Marina, I regret we did not have such an opportunity when I was her age… I hope Marina learns well and will have a good future. The songs of my daughter give me such an inspiration that I wish there should be such a class for mothers too”.
Razeya, mother of 2 young children: “I am very happy to come to the class where my 2 children go every day. I cannot believe it when I see my 4 years old girl and 3 years old boy read and write already at such a young age. I am impressed to see them playing in such a positive and clean environment with other children. I see how they are learning, playing together and developing their personalities. Since my children attend this early childhood class, they are very different. They say hello to everybody, wash their hands regularly, especially before and after eating”.
Former students from Nai Qala schools are now teacher trainers and a source of inspiration for current students
To start the teacher training project in 2016, we hired three university graduates with teaching skills. Remarkably, two of the teachers graduated from a Nai Qala school few years ago.
After completing their university studies, they are now prepared to work to serve their community. The fact that they attended a Nai Qala school was one criterion for selecting them: they return to serve their people, which in turn is a source of inspiration for other students in the village.
The project has also given some local people with qualifications an opportunity to stay in their region rather than seek work elsewhere. This can be an inspiration to other villagers.
After 6 months of activity, both early childhood education classes are enjoying a well-deserved winter break. Temperatures in the region of Nai Qala are well below zero degrees and snow has appeared.During the past semester, children of Nai Qala have made remarkable progress. They have not only learned how to recognize and write the letters of the Dari (Farsi) alphabet, and to count until 50 but they have developed new social skills through playing and doing artistic activities.
Thanks to this pilot project, 36 girls and boys listened to stories, drew, painted, and developed their imagination. All together, they participated in games that boosted their self-confidence and stimulated the development of their personality.
The children of Nai Qala have enjoyed the new class of early childhood education. They have been encouraged, felt inspired, realized their dreams and can now apprehend the future more serenely.
The early childhood education program stimulates boys and girls to play together
One of the most important objectives of early childhood education program is that from a very early age, all children – boys and girls – learn how to play together as a normal habit. Playing together develop their imagination and allow them to inspire each other.
The early childhood education program is designed to provide an expanded range of experiences for young children helping them to develop skills and form attitudes that will enable them to make good use of learning opportunities both within the class and later formal education.
The little boy seems to think he could get some inspiration from the castle built by his young colleague …
To see the progress in construction of Sokhtagi school, Nai Qala’s President attended a site meeting in October. She was able to see that construction work was progressing on time and according to plan. The walls are out of the ground and growing.
Enabling young people in rural areas to take Afghanistan’s national university entrance examination
Astonishingly, the village of Zeera Gag did not even have a school building two years ago. Children and teenagers had to study outside in all weathers until Nai Qala built them a school in 2015. Now, not only can they study in decent conditions but they even have the unprecedented opportunity to apply to go to university. As of January 2017, Nai Qala provided a course of supplementary lessons for the older students – both young men and young women – to prepare them for the Kankor (university entrance) examination. When the course was announced, 160 of Zeera Gag’s older students asked to join it.
A ceremony in the village marked the end of the Kankor preparation course. As of early May, 24 students (13 young women and 11 young men) had enrolled to take the Kankor examination. Not all the students on this year’s course will succeed in obtaining a place at a university, but it is hoped that some of them will. Before Nai Qala arrived in Zeera Gag a few years ago, no young people took the examination in any case, so all the students are proud – and their community is proud of them – that they were good enough to complete a course focused on university entrance. This alone gives them an advantage in finding promising occupations in their region.
For those who will attend university, their prospects for employment in their home areas are good. When state agencies or NGOs want to carry out important programs in these areas, it is hard to find a qualified doctor, engineer, agronomist, teacher, vet’ – or other professions – from these regions. Educated young people can strengthen their communities, their provinces, and their country too.
Opening ceremony to celebrate the start of construction work at Sokhtagi school.
The first stone was laid down by the chief of Sokhtagi community as well as the provincial education minister.
Local tradition is to wrap the first stone in a red fabric, tied it with a ribbon and have sweets.