Ulla Nölle, the founder of our committee, died on 8 September 2019. Until the end she was interested in news from Afghanistan, especially our own projects. We are sure she would have been happy to read the reports which we have received from our partners.
Zabiullah Azizi, General Director of VUSAF
Finally the election 2019 is over. A big worry has gone. People were talking a lot before the election that it would not happen, that Taliban and other terrorist groups wouldn’t let people get out of their houses on election day. But the brave people of Afghanistan once again showed their enemies that they don’t want war and that they are committed to go for democracy. Though, we have been waiting for the result of the election for almost three weeks and it seems that another few weeks would be needed till all votes would be counted. Whatever the result would be, our nation just wants one thing and that is peace - we are still hopeful.
As far as our work at VUSAF is concerned, we are trying our best. All our projects are going in the best way possible. Of course, part of our women project in Qurghan (one of the four districts around Andkhoi) has been disturbed by Taliban. Our women center in Baghboostan was closed due to insecurity in the area and because Taliban don’t allow girls and women to get out of their homes without a male companion. This, of course shows that neither our Government nor the international community has won the war against Taliban. We have to continue our fight.
I am meeting the key staff from three different provinces regularly although travelling has become more difficult. Sometimes our colleagues have to stop on the way for hours because they get stuck in the fire exchange of two sides. But we are committed and we understand that our projects are the only hope for the people of those areas. From the other side we are also providing jobs to the people, directly and indirectly.
Our committee and specially our educational projects are being evaluated by an independent consultant for the first time. So, we are making new experiences and we take this evaluation process as a learning opportunity, to find the weak points and then work out ways to improve. We are very eager to learn more and to improve our skills because we want to build a better future for our children.
Mir Ahmad Niazi, Office Manager Mazar-e-Sharif
There is still a lot to be done in Afghanistan. The schools have problems with themanagement, there are not enough teachers and many of them are not trained well enough. Classrooms or even whole buildings are missing and quite often also teaching materials. The Afghan government still has lots of problems, especially in the security and education fields and does not manage to solve the problems so in education the NGOs are the only hope for the Afghan people. It is clear that education is the only way to solve the other problems. Once the education system in Afghanistan improves and people get educated, the other problems will be solved on their own.
Despite these security problems, all our activitiesin Mazar are going normal. Recently we started a new project: Capacity building for 10 schools in Mazar-e-Sharif. This is something completely new for the schools in Mazar. It includes trainings for the school management and for school science and math teachers, working with parents in SDCs, working with students for cultural and ecological projects, supporting school laboratory and libraries by building a double story block with 2 rooms for four schools and supplying extra books and lab materials. We are having our regular meetings with principals, SDC members and students. We conducted a one-week training workshop for school caretakers (in carpentry, electrical and masonry skills) to carry out small repairs in schools.
VUSAF built around 15 school buildings in the past 10 years. Now the construction of a double story 24 classroom building for Hazrat-e-Noman high school in Mazar-e-Sharif and a double story 16 classroom building in Samangan are almost completed. Recently we started the construction works of smaller buildings with four rooms in Fatema Zahra Girls School and the school in Nawabad school but still many schools need extra classrooms.
Sayed Asef Sadaat, Regional Director Andkhoi
In large parts of our neighbouring districts of Qaramqul and Qurghan Taliban have taken control. Girls are only allowed to attend school till sixth grade. Some people have left areas where there has been fighting. Others do not let their children go out of the house. Agriculture was very good this year, but Taliban are taking illegal tax from the farmers.
Despite all these black days, all our courses at the Education Centre and in schools are running well and most of the other activities (gatherings, celebrations, library etc.) are going according to plan. Sometimes we even have to reject some families who want to enrol their children to join our courses.
We hired experienced teachers for our Kancor preparation courses (to pass the entry test for university). Every week we carry out mock exams so that the students are well prepared for this most important exam. Meanwhile, we are training 44 teachers “in-service”. They came by themselves and asked to join our courses. They feel happy and lucky for the chance they found in the Education Centre. We also organized two teacher training seminars in methodology this summer. Although security made travelling more difficult, we had more participants this time than in previous years.
Ecology groups are growing very fast. There are active groups now in six girls’ and five boys’ high schools. They are organizing different activities such as interviews in the bazarof Andkhoi in which they are discussing the use of plastic which are broadcast on city TV cable. Furthermore, the teams have discussion with the mayor and the district governor as well as the head of education of Andkhoi and other government officials. Last year community people were laughing at them but this year they started supporting of them. Meanwhile, almost 200 youths are active in these groups.
Soman Sadat, Manageress of the Women Projects
I am happy to say that despite of the security problems in the villages of Qurghan, Qaramqul, and Andkhoi, we are able to implement our projects in a good manner. Although our Women centre in Baghbustan is closed till the situation gets better again. Since the beginning of August, the government is taking action against the Taliban and we are looking forward to better news. Despite our worries, we are working on the opening one more branch in Khancharbagh.
Actually the construction work is giving hope to the people and strength to believe that women can develop skills and power. In fact, the existence of women centers helps us in reaching our target to change the women`s mind, to get women out of the house and go to work. Our fitness centre and sports play a key role in bringing changes to this area.
In our homeschool we are training girls who cannot go to normal school because of the distance from their house. Our sewing courses are providing the best opportunities for women to get out of their house and earn own income.
They can visit the women centers and order or buy different clothes. At least they can take a break and refresh their mind. The sewing projects are of great benefit for the students. Once they graduate, they can have a better life by earning money from their own products at home and passing their knowledge and skills to others. They are also earning a good reputation and respect. Once a month there are lectures on different social topics such as health, safety in the home, education, human rights, discriminations which they find interesting and beneficial. With our women projects we are trying
to change their minds and lead them from the dark to the light. They are seeing the world with different eyes.