Happy Canada Day from Tanzania!

Happy Canada Day from Tanzania and Kindergarten Of Joy – and a big thank you to everyone who helped us buy these bright young students a new bus!

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CanILF Books Arrive at Guatemala Partner School

Update from Project Somos: “We are SO grateful for the generous donation from Canadian International Learning Foundation for $$ to purchase books for Project Somos! These books will inspire the children to learn to read and to fall in love with stories and books. We couldn’t be happier! Gracias ? Matiox ? Thank You ?

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CanILF Repairs Completed at Uganda Partner School

Update from the Kabira Adult Attention and School of Orphans (KAASO):

“Thank you so much to the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) for your generous support in helping KAASO with a full school repairs project before the students came back.

After almost two years of school closures, KAASO was in desperate need of repairs and CanILF stepped in with a grant to make this dream come true. The school buildings are now patched and painted, the floors repaired, the water tanks cleaned and broken windows have been replaced.

We are so proud of our sparkling new compound! Thank you CanILF!”

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Newsletter 2021 – Incredible News from our Partner School in Kandahar

Women attend classes at the Afghan Canadian Community Center / Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies in December 2021 – 4 months after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This has been an immensely difficult year. Not only have we had to deal with the challenges from the ongoing pandemic, but also the sudden collapse of the Afghan government to the Taliban in August. Then the Taliban ended almost all women’s education – particularly secondary and post-secondary programs.

The Afghan Canadian Community Center / Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies’ (ACCC / KIMS) Director – Ehsanullah Ehsan – has been a strong, vocal proponent of women’s education, and so we were very fortunate to have been able to assist with the evacuation of him and his family – more on that here [Please be aware: This article contains graphic descriptions of the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan]. We have also been honoured to help Ehsan’s family settle into their new home in Ottawa. 

More than that, however, we have been able to do what we recently thought impossible.

Our partner school in Kandahar is open. 

We continue to provide education for the women who need it most.

Your investments in a better future for Afghan women and their families continue to pay dividends.

How have we managed it? Our formula has been the same since the school’s establishment in 2007 – we work with the support of the community, we listen to community members, and we respect the diverse mix of cultures in Kandahar. 

[Continue reading here.]

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New Partnership Delivers Books to Kasabonika Lake First Nations Community

A Kasabonika Lake student checks out books provided by CanILF

This year, CanILF entered into a new partnership with Chief Simeon McKay Education Centre in Kasabonika Lake, Ontario to provide members of the community with children’s books and books by indigenous authors.

With the help of Joan Carpenter – a Kasabonika Lake teacher and CanILF volunteer – we have already provided more than 60 books, and are in the process of ordering and delivering another large shipment.

Joan noted that it was great to see so many books by First Nations authors, and that the baby books would be appreciated by young mothers in the area. One book in particular was destined for a student with special needs who was not able to attend school in person.

This partnership was assisted by Books and Company, a Prince Edward County bookstore, which has graciously offered discounts of up to 20% to support this project.

The Kasabonika Lake community is emerging from a long-term period of poverty. Access to the community is limited to fly-in and ice roads during the winter. Although internet speed is improving there are very few suitable books in the community, particularly for the growing community of young children. Education in the community has been severely hampered this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are seeking donations to expand our First Nations partnerships, both with additional books for Kasabonika Lake and with new communities. To help, please visit our donation page and choose option 3.) First Nations Project.

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Newsletter 2020 – Kandahar Women Overcome War, Illness and Poverty

Our 2020 newsletter is now online – have a look to see how CanILF helped to support education in Kandahar, Uganda, and now a First Nations Community in Northern Ontario.

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Newsletter 2016

Our 2016 newsletter is now online – click here for our Letter from President, an update from former Kandahar student Maryam Naqibullah, and a student-made video that will take you into the heart of the Afghan Canadian Community Center (ACCC) and the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS).

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Maryam Shares Her Story

Maryam is currently studying International Relations at Carleton University in Ottawa. Previously, she was the only female translator for the NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar. She recently presented at the annual Symposium for Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, and shared the full impact of KIMS’ help here.

What was your life like before you started attending the ACCC?

During the Taliban regime, I was a girl who was going to forests to collect wood in order to make sure that we had enough wood for fire so our mother could cook for us. I was also bringing water since we didn’t have any water inside of our houses. I never ever thought that one day I would get an education. Everything seemed hopeless and life was like in prison.

Why did you decide to pursue higher education, despite the risks?

We have been victim of war and violence for more than three decades. Every Afghan is tired of this violence, war and destruction. The main reason of this ongoing war and violence in Afghanistan is illiteracy. Education is the only key to the success and through education we can bring peace to our country and work together with the support of International Community to reconstruct Afghanistan and remove the roots of terrorism in Afghanistan and never let our younger generation to become once again the victim of violence, or anyone to take advantage of us like Taliban did…

What class or teacher at the ACCC made the biggest difference in your life?

English and computer classes made huge difference in my life. I have accomplished a lot in past three years in Afghanistan and in Canada and it’s all because of Afghan Canadian Community Center. If today, I am student of Political Science at Carleton University and pursing my undergraduate in International Relations and I have the ability to write my assignments in English, understand my lecture and speak in English with my professors. It’s all again because of ACCC. ACCC was the first place where I learned my English and Computer skills.

What do you think makes the ACCC different from other programs in Afghanistan?

The ACCC is the only place for Kandahari girls where they are provided best environment, best discipline, culturally most appropriate and they can get life skills in English, Management and Computer studies.
Students are enabled to get jobs with different International and local organization and support their family economically. This also brings a positive change in life of Kandahar women and they become breadwinner for the family and gain more respect.

How did Internet access, the computer lab, or access to the resource library impact your life or your studies?

In Afghanistan our schools don’t have enough materials that student can benefit from or solve their problems while they are in school. They always struggle a lot getting more information about their favorite subjects. So having access to internet and library at ACCC is very useful and helped students to take out books or even read it inside the center to find the answer for their questions. It has really positive impact on our knowledge on the other side of the world too. Through these facilities we can get better information about the world.

What employment positions have you held since studying at the ACCC?

I worked as Protection Clerk for UNHCR, Legal Translator for International Legal Foundation, Only female interpreter with the Canadian Forces in Kandahar, Gender Advisor for US State Department in Kandahar. I was the breadwinner for my family at that time and currently I have been training the Canadian troops across Canada plus I worked as translator with Canadian Immigration in Ottawa.

What educational programs would you like to complete in the future?

I have dream of obtaining my PHD in International Relations one day and to become a diplomat in the future.

Do you plan to return to Afghanistan? If so, what sort of work would you like to do when you return?

It’s my main goal to return to Afghanistan and serve my country as minister of Foreign Affairs but the security situation in Afghanistan will decide that for me.

Are there any other messages you would like to share?

ACCC has brought a huge change in life of Kandahar women. It’s the only institution where girls have full access to English language, computer, management and other online courses. To continue to help Kandahar women it would be the place where International donor money can make a huge change in life of Afghan women and their families.

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ACCC Morning Program Brings Hope to More than 150 Students

English language class in progress

With the support of Canadian donors and our partner charities, more than 150 female students in Kandahar are now receiving vital education at the Afghan Canadian Community Center’s Morning Program in Kandahar. This program, provided by the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, allows students to receive professional training in a range of high-demand fields, including computing, business, communications and journalism.

A Small Program with a Big Impact

The total yearly cost of the program is $45,000, a figure raised with the support of the Luke Four Foundation, the Cadmus Foundation, and individual Canadian donors. The Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) has pledged to support the Morning Program for the next three years (2013 to 2015), and has successfully raised the first year’s costs. This multi-year commitment will provide a vital source of reliable funding for both the Afghan Canadian Community Center and Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, providing stability to the students and teachers.

“We are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with the Afghan Canadian Community Center,” said Ryan Aldred, President of CanILF. “Their industry-leading training will go a long way toward building local capacity in Kandahar and clearly demonstrating the value of education for Afghan women.”

The Afghan Canadian Community Center has served the women of Kandahar since 2006 and received funding from the Canadian International Development Agency from 2008 to 2012. During this period, the Center successfully trained 2,278 graduates. The students who secured employment as a result of this education provide economic support to an estimated 9,800 residents of Kandahar. The Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies – the Center’s parent organization – is presently funded by a grant from US State Department.

Computer students practice their lessons

Help Us Keep the Morning Program Running

CanILF Board Member volunteer Erin Collins is raising funds for Morning Program scholarships at the Afghan Canadian Community Center as she prepares to run her first-ever marathon on May 26. Her goal is to raise $1,050 – or a one–month scholarship ($25) for a female student for each of the 42.2 kilometres of the race. To contribute to her campaign and help cheer her on, please visit Erin’s Giving Page here. Donations are eligible for Canadian tax receipts and also count toward our $30,000 annual fundraising goal, which will unlock the next $15,000 matching grant from the Cadmus Foundation.

You can also sponsor Morning Program students through our Adopt-a-Student program for as little as $10 per month. As a Scholarship funders, you will receive a student profile telling you about your student’s interests and plans for the future.

English langauge class in progress

English langauge class in progress

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’12 Days of Learning’ a Huge Success for Afghan Women

Thanks to your generous support, the new year is off to a fantastic start for between 150 and 200 women and girls and their families in Kandahar!

Donations of all sizes have combined to enable the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) to exceed our 12 Days of Learning goal, raising a total of $10,000 and unlocking the $15,000 matching grant from the Cadmus Foundation. Most importantly, your gifts have allowed the women’s morning education program to enter 2013 with a full year of funding in place ($45,000) to cover the core operating costs of the Afghan Canadian Community Center in Kandahar.

This means students and teachers can go into their morning English, Computing and Communications courses confident that the classes will continue. It also puts CanILF volunteers in a better position to seek out new partners and funding sources to help students thrive at this highly-respected school.

Your generosity also proves to large donor agencies – such as the US State Department, which provides most of funding for the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS), the ACCC’s parent organization – that the Insititute has widespread international support from charities and individual donors alike. This kind of support can play a critical role in helping us renew our current grant, and give KIMS the time needed to achieve self-sustainability. The morning program will educate 150 to 200 girls and women. Overall, the Institute expects to provide vital education for between 1,500 to 1,800 women and men in Kandahar this year.

Having exceeded the 12 Days of Learning campaign goal by more than $1,300, the additional funds will allow us to start working toward funding the program through to the end of 2015 and, if possible, fund even more student scholarships in 2013. Donations that exceeded our goal also became the first to count towards our next matching grant, as the Cadmus Foundation will provide another $15,000 match once we raise an additional $30,000. This means that going forward your donations will continue to have an even greater impact!

We are very grateful for every donor as well as the volunteers who created and promoted the zero-cost 12 Days of Learning campaign. My sincere thanks as well to all of you who shared the information with your friends and family; we were introduced to many first-time supporters as a result. This volunteer support will also allow us to use 100% of donations received to fund scholarships and purchase educational equipment.

Thank you as well to the Luke Four Foundation for their generous donation last month, which also supports women’s education in Kandahar and got us off on a great start as we successfully raised our first $30,000. We are also deeply honoured by the support of Capt. Trevor Greene and the Greene Family Education Initiative Fund, which contributed $1,000 this December to CanILF’s programming at the ACCC.

To those of you who are new to us, welcome and thank you! Visit www.canilf.org to learn more about CanILF’s volunteer-run work to support education in regions of poverty, war or illness. You can also contact me any time, or connect with us on Facebook for CanILF and the Afghan School Project.

Lastly, I would like to share the words of Ms. Yelda Mahmoud, a former ACCC student now living in Canada, who donated to the Campaign.

Yelda wrote: “Educate a woman and you will educate a nation.”

Wishing you and our students great things for 2013,

Ryan Aldred
Canadian International Learning Foundation

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