AFCECO Newsletter: May 2011
Dear Friends of AFCECO orphanages,
We are thrilled to announce that this month, final arrangements were made to open AFCECO's New School. The school's opening and the exciting activities planned throughout the year is made possible through a grant from The Asia Foundation's Strengthening Education in Afghanistan Program which is funded with the generous support of USAID. Two years ago we had a lone volunteer sitting on carpet teaching with pencil and pads of paper. Today we have a full slate of educators and a three-story school that fully augments the public program, complete with three computer labs, fine art center, music room, dance and drama rehearsal and performance space, and offices that include a supply room and all-purpose copier machine. The center also boasts a full library / resource room where students who are not engaged in classes or tutorials can work on their projects and homework. Our instructors provide language classes, science, math and computer classes, and have full Internet access for over 40 computers. The building and grounds are immaculate, including grand high ceilings, open lounges and a fully matured courtyard garden with grape arbors, roses, cherry and apple trees and a lush lawn. Most importantly, the New School is located just a few blocks away from our five Kabul orphanages. No more risky and expensive taxiing of children to various places around the city. This is a real hallmark for AFCECO, to be able to provide the kind of quality education and character building experience that has always been our mission, alongside the unique vision of the parwarishga itself where children from all tribes live together, grow together in peace. The inauguration of the New School will be on Tuesday, May 10th.
Also this month our Director Andeisha Farid returned from her tour of the U.S., meeting with sponsors as well as corporate friends such as Google and Goldman Sachs who have provided grant moneys to further our Leadership Workshop program. Andeisha also was invited once again to attend the award ceremony in Washington D.C. in recognition of the 10,000 Women Project and a new class of awardees, women who are leading the way for real and lasting equality and opportunity for women around the world.
We are also very happy and excited to report that the first group of children to graduate high school who were raised in AFCECO programs is now entering into university here in Kabul. Four girls— Manizha, Zabaida, Shazia and Hasina are each entering into undergraduate programs. In return for housing, books and fees, as well as being proud AFCECO “graduates” they have expressed their desire to work for their beloved parwarishgas. As interns, they have each been given important jobs. Manizha is assisting in the huge and critical process of connecting sponsors with their children through the letter-writing program. Zabaida is staying in Mehan orphanage and taking charge of monitoring and attending to children’s health, Shazi is helping us with administrative duties at the New School, and Hasina is working as our receptionist for the New School. We cannot stress how much this pleases us, to watch this experiment with investing in children we all believe in so patiently and deeply begin to flourish, mature and enter into the world, while maintaining the wholesome connection as one big family.
Other great news to report: the girls’ soccer team, thanks again to sponsor support, has dependable transportation to and from the field, new uniforms for practice and match play, new warm up clothes and a full-time salaried professional coach. The 22 girls have really begun to show great progress in their skill and competitiveness. Soon they will be challenging other teams in the region. We’ll keep you posted!
We are also very happy and excited to report that the first group of children to graduate high school who were raised in AFCECO programs is now entering into university here in Kabul With great anticipation for yet another year of growth,
The AFCECO team
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