In September of 2010 Andeisha Farid, director of AFCECO was awarded a grant from Goldman Sachs and Fortune Magazine in support of her proposed leadership workshop for the oldest girls in the orphanages. These are 16 year olds who soon will be seeking to further their education at the university level. Three days a week 14 girls meet for two hours each session in a classroom equipped with nine computers, high speed Internet, projector and white board connected to dvd or computer output. They convene around a conference table in the style of advanced preparatory programs in America. Lessons are given by the education coordinator who in addition to teaching language skills and leadership skills invites guest lecturers to lead every third session. Lecturers include Afghan professors, politicians, activists, artists and writers who focus on the virtually lost history and culture of Afghanistan. The program culminates with the top three students continuing on to America where for three months they will mentor with women professionals and otherwise take advantage of a variety of hands-on educational opportunities.
Other donors have taken interest in this as not a one-time program, but a pilot program wherein each year a handful of AFCECO’s older students participate in a character building program preparatory for adulthood and their own professional pursuits. Of course this is an immeasurable experience for the girls and by proxy Afghan women in general. These girls will go on to be models for others, trailblazing the way to equality as functioning, productive members of Afghan society. AFCECO will seek funding to continue and broaden this program in the future, for both boys and girls