Visit CanILF at Ottawa Fashion Week

The Canadian International Learning Foundation has been chosen as the featured charity at Ottawa Fashion Week, to be held March 24th to 27th at the Ottawa Arts Court. Visit our display to speak with our volunteers, send messages of support to our students, and shop from a range of products – from gourmet coffee to pashminas – to support our programs in Afghanistan, Uganda, and around the world.

Ottawa Fashion Week seeks to create a stronger forum for designers and artists to showcase their brilliant work and quench the thirst of arts lovers in Ottawa. Designers from across the country and around the world will showcase their collections. The nation’s capital will witness cutting edge fashion and style, and will have the opportunity to purchase unique pieces, straight off the runway. Doors will open at 5 pm, and runway shows will be held daily at 6 pm, to be followed by a nightly after party.

To learn more, please visit Ottawa Fashion Week at Tickets are available for pre-purchase at Ottawa Fashion Week Live. You can also follow Ottawa Fashion Week updates on twitter at @OFW_LIVE.

For further information, please contact us by e-mail at [email protected].

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“Canada and Afghanistan: Keeping Our Promises” to Benefit the Afghan School Project

Please join The Free Thinking Film Society at the National Archives (395 Wellington) on March 9th for “Canada and Afghanistan: Keeping Our Promises”, a presentation of the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee’s vision for Canada’s re-dedication to the cause of Afghan reconstruction, human rights and democracy, post-2011.

Speakers at this event will include:

  • Ehsanullah Ehsan (appearing by video from Afghanistan), Director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre in Kandahar City
  • Nipa Banerjee, Professor of international development at the University of Ottawa who served as Canada’s head of aid in Kabul for three years
  • Nasrine Gross, Afghan-American writer and human rights activist
  • Major-General (Ret’d) Lewis Mackenzie, Served in the Canadian Forces for 35 years, including a UN peacekeeping command in Yugoslavia in 1992, he is also an author and media commentator; he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2006
  • Dr. Douglas Bland, Chair of the Defence Management Studies Program at the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University
  • Lauryn Oates, Human rights and gender equity activist; CASC senior advisor

After the speeches and panel discussion, there will then be a cocktail reception – which will serve as a fundraiser for Afghan-Canadian Community Center (“The Afghan School Project“) in Kandahar. Canadian International Learning Foundation volunteers will be on hand to meet with you and share some of our students’ stories of studying in Afghanistan.

Please join us for this very important event – and in the process, help Afghan men and women receive life-changing education.

Admission is $30, $15 for students. The event runs from 7:00 to 10:30 pm.

Tickets can no longer be purchased online. However, a limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

Note: If you purchase tickets online, you will not receive a physical ticket. We will keep a list of ticket holders and check photo ID at the door.

Or you can purchase tickets from the following retail outlets:

Ottawa Folklore Centre
1111 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON K1S 3X4
(613) 730-2887

Compact Music
190 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 1W8
(613) 233-7626

Compact Music
785 1/2 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ont
K1S 3V5
(613) 233-8922

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Help CanILF win the CanadaHelps Giving Challenge!

With your support, the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) can turn $1 into $5,000. How, you ask? By helping us win the CanadaHelps Giving Challenge!

The Challenge will award $5,000 for the charity with the most donations between November 23rd and noon on December 20th.

Donate $1 for the Foundation and you’ll bring us a step closer to winning – and send one of our students in Uganda or Afghanistan to school for two days!

Please donate and invite your friends to do the same – it only takes a dollar! What’s more, just one dollar is enough to help a student in Uganda or Afghanistan to school for two days. Just imagine – if we win, that’s 10,000 days of schooling for students in need!

Are you willing to help us even more? There’s a second category for “most funds raised” – if we can win both categories, we can raise as much as an additional $10,000 to help students in need!

Please click here to donate now!

Can you help us spread the word? See below for tweets, facebook posts, and e-mails that you can send to friends and family to encourage them to get involved. Thanks for your help – let’s make every dollar count!

Want to see how we’re doing? Click here to check out the results.

Sample E-mail

Subject: Donate $1 to help CanILF win the CanadaHelps Giving Challenge


I’m a supporter of the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF), a grassroots registered Canadian charity which helps to provide and promote education in Afghanistan, Uganda and other developing countries. They are a volunteer-run charity and all donations go directly toward student scholarships and educational equipment, unless donors request otherwise.

The Foundation is taking part in the CanadaHelps Giving Challenge, and is eligible to win up to $10,000 depending on the number and amount of donations they can raise within the next month. They have a real shot at winning both prizes, but need our help to do so.

All you need to do is donate $1, and you’ll bring us one step closer to winning at least one of the categories – and bringing in $5,000 toward a great cause. Your $1 donation is also enough to send a student in Uganda or Afghanistan to school for two days. They accept both credit card and Interac. Please click here to donate:

For more information, please visit the Foundation at I’d be glad to answer any questions you may have, or you can write to CanILF President Ryan Aldred at [email protected]


Facebook Post


“Your $1 donation will help a grassroots international education charity win a $5000 award — plus it’s enough to send a student in Uganda or Afghanistan to school for two days! (which is way, way cooler than what a chocolate bar can do). It’s an awesome charity and nice way to give overseas without worrying where the money really goes. Please give – and help spread the word!”


RT @CanILF Donate $1 to help us win $5K in the Canada Helps Giving Challenge! $1 = 2 days of school! (Debit accepted!)

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Hundreds of Kandahar Students Graduate from CIDA-Funded Education Program

CanILF NR-0901 November 2, 2009 OTTAWA Despite recent insecurity, more than two hundred students at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) in Kandahar, Afghanistan graduated on November 2, 2009 from a professional education program funded largely by the Canadian International Development Agency.

“Through the education and support provided by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, the Government of Canada and the Canadian people, the Center has given us hope for a better future,” said Class Valedictorian Bibi Zhilla, “Now it is our responsibility to share this precious gift with others in  need.”

The ACCC provides professional education to approximately 1,000 students in Kandahar, more than half of them women. A group of 30 students have had the opportunity to study Business Management with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) via the Internet.

ACCC Director Ehsanullah Ehsan travelled to Calgary to receive an honourary degree from SAIT in June 2009. ACCC students had planned to accompany Ehsan during the trip, but were unable to do so for security reasons. This group of students received graduation certificates from SAIT during this ceremony.

The ACCC was founded by Ehsan in early 2007 with the support of the Afghan School Project, which sponsors student scholarships and provides the Center with educational equipment, such as computers and textbooks.

The Project is managed by the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF), a registered Canadian charity. The Foundation also provides Canadians with the opportunity to communicate with students in Kandahar via and an online Pen Pal program.

“We are incredibly proud of what our students have achieved under such difficult circumstances,” said Ryan Aldred, President of CanILF, “With the assistance of the Government of Canada, we have helped the people of Kandahar to create a vibrant and thriving school which has made a lasting difference in the lives of thousands of people.”

Several hundred students and graduates of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center have obtained long-term employment with local businesses and international organizations. On average, each employed student provides economic support to more than seven family members.


Notes to the editor: Further details regarding the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) are available online at Photos of the ACCC and its students are available at A link to video footage from the ACCC is available upon request. Further information regarding the Canadian International Learning Foundation is available at

For more information, please contact Ryan Aldred, President of the Canadian International Learning Foundation at 613-614-5349 or e-mail [email protected].

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Amanda M. Weightman’s Woman and Water Art Show to Help Students in Afghanistan, Uganda

Calgary artist Amanda M. Weightman is set to unveil her Woman and Water exhibition, which will feature a special series of smaller, more accessible artwork created in support of the Canadian International Learning Foundation’s (CanILF) projects in Afghanistan and Uganda.

The launch of the series will be held at The Marquee Room of the Uptown in Calgary on October 8th from 7:00 until 9:00 pm. There will be musical performances by The Nix Dixons and Oh Lenore! afterward.

If you enjoy seeing the latest work from a talented artist and would like to make a difference in the life of a student in need, then this is one show you won’t want to miss. With artwork from the CanILF series starting at $20 per piece, Amanda is helping to prove that neither art nor education is beyond reach. To RSVP, please click here.

The Uptown ( is located at #200 – 612 8th Ave SW. The event is open to those 18 and older and there will be a cover charge for entry after 9:00 pm. All sales from the smaller series and a portion of sales from the Woman and Water series will be used to fund student scholarships at CanILF’s partner schools.

About Amanda M. Weightman (

Amanda was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta where she continues to live and work. She is a self-taught, professional artist and children’s art instructor. Amanda is represented by Latitude Art Gallery in Calgary (

About The Canadian International Learning Foundation (

The Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) is an Ottawa-based, volunteer-run registered charity which provides and promotes employment-oriented education in areas of the world affected by poverty, war and disease epidemics (at-risk areas). To accomplish this, CanILF provides funding for scholarships and educational equipment, teaches online courses, and offers mentoring to the leaders of educational institutions.

CanILF has helped hundreds of students in Afghanistan achieve long-term employment as a result of the students sponsored at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) via the Afghan School Project ( . ACCC Director Ehsanullah Ehsan was recently awarded an honorary degree from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in recognition of his accomplishments. A group of students at Ehsan’s school in Kandahar are currently studying with SAIT via their online Business Management Certificate program.

For more information, please contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (613) 614-5349.

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Interested in donating to a worthwhile cause, but want to know where your money’s going? Looking for that perfect wedding, birthday or holiday gift, but want to get something special? Is your school or class looking for a worthwhile social justice project? Sponsor a student from the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) through our Adopt-a-Student Program!

For between $10 to $20 per month (depending on the student’s program), you can provide a scholarship to a specific student at the ACCC in Kandahar, whom you can learn about through their student profile. Your support will provide the life-changing gift of education to a student in need and help make a real and lasting difference in Afghanistan.

Adopt-a-Student also makes a great gift. Just let us know that you would like to receive a gift package, and we will prepare a package that includes a personalized letter from the Learning Foundation, a student profile, and information regarding the Afghan-Canadian Community Center and the Canadian International Learning Foundation. What’s more, all donations over $20 are eligible for tax receipts.

If your class or school is looking for a social justice project, adopting a student at the ACCC is the perfect place to start. Your students will be able to communicate with the Afghan student whose education they are helping to fund. This will give your students a new appreciation for their own education and inspire your adopted student to repay your gift by making a lasting contribution to her community and the future of Afghanistan.

The education provided by the Afghan-Canadian Community Center has helped hundreds of students and graduates obtain valuable employment and each employed ACCC student provides economic support to seven members of their immediate and extended family. We need your help to offer this life-changing opportunity to students in Kandahar.

To Adopt-a-Student, please contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (613) 614-5349. 100% of all donations made via the Adopt a Student program go directly to funding scholarships at the ACCC.

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A Sweet Fundraiser for the Learning Foundation

This past may, students and staff from St. Matthew Catholic High School, in Orleans, Ontario, came together to raise $2,000 for the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) at their annual cake auction.

Now in its ninth year, the cake auction has become quite a tradition and a major event in the school’s fundraising calendar. In preparation for the auction, students collect funds in their classes, to bid on cakes baked by various members of the school community. Each year, a charity is chosen as the recipient of the money raised during the event.

Approximately 160 cakes were baked this year, and the funds raised matched the highest total ever. The fundraising was also given a boost by CanILF President Ryan Aldred, who spent an entire day at the school in April, giving presentations to a number of classes on CanILF’s Afghan School Project. In addition to that initiative in Kandahar, the funds raised from the cake auction will also help support CanILF’s new Uganda Literacy and Education Program (ULEP).

Special thanks go to a dedicated teacher, Maura Tubridy, a group of senior students, and the grade seven and eight religion classes, who helped organize the cake auction and ensure its success, as well as the entire school community at St. Matthew. The students in Afghanistan and Uganda will certainly benefit from your generosity.

If you would like to host a fundraiser to benefit one of the Learning Foundation’s projects, please contact us at [email protected] Our volunteer staff would be glad to help you plan the event!

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Learning Foundation featured on CBC Radio-Canada

We are proud to inform you that the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) was featured on CBC Radio-Canada in February 2009. Please click here to view the story (in French), and read below for the transcript in English, which was prepared by CanILF volunteers.

Thank you to all of our supporters who have made our work possible. It is your generosity which has built the “School of Hope” for women in Kandahar. To help us continue to provide this vital assistance, please Donate.

“Kandahar: A school for girls financed by people from Ottawa”
CBC Transcript – February 11th, 2009

Despite the horrors of the war in Afghanistan, here is a beautiful story of human solidarity and devotion.

A group of citizens from Ottawa have decided to help Afghan women who have been deprived of education for years. And these volunteers have opened a school. Marc Gauthier will describe for us this ambitious project that has so fruitfully produced.

“The School of Hope”

Everywhere in Afghanistan, schools for women were shut down when the Taliban came in to power in the mid-1990s. Many schools have reopened since the fall of the regime, but women still face the risks and dangers of attending class.

Last fall, for example, two women were disfigured by acid while walking to school.

But there is hope.

In Kandahar, sheltered from scrutiny and threats, there is a school were girls can take off their burqa and study in peace. The school has been put in place and financed by residents of Ottawa since 2007.

Ryan Aldred: “It is really a beautiful building that we have been able to rent with the money from CIDA.”

Its founder is Ryan Aldred, a reservist with the army. Every week, with several volunteers, he organizes the good functioning of the Afghan Canadian Community Center, situated only 10,000km from here.

Victoria Gauthier: “I just like knowing that I am helping women who don’t have the same rights as us. Personally, I think that it is everybody’s right to learn and to have the same rights to education.”

Ryan Aldred: “…but I think that it would be great, there is certainly a lot of support…”

The volunteers come from all horizons, yet all of them have been touched by the situation of women over there.

Mallory Mroz: “Imagine, somebody would actually throw acid in the face of a woman just because she wants to go to school. It is unbelievable… how we can live here without danger – just the snow that bothers us – no acid like that. ”

Together they are planning the budget for the school and they are organizing computers with internet connection which permits the volunteers to communicate with the students.

Mallory Mroz: “There are young women who write to me who want to be doctors, nurses, teachers; they have a lot of dreams.”

Ehsan Ullah: “Can you tell me what is in the next paragraph?”

If the project exists in Kandahar, it is thanks to this man, Ehsan Ullah who has managed this Afghan-Canadian school since 2007 and is also a teacher. His work also includes risks to his life, as he regularly receives death threats at the school.

At the school, the women receive, at no charge, courses in English, technology, and health. Thanks to the internet, they also have access to business courses offered by a technical college in Calgary. As of next week, the courses will also be coming from Ottawa.

Annette Levesque: “There is a range from math, English, English as a Second language…”

This private company, the Ottawa-Carleton E-School, has accepted to offer courses at no-charge at the secondary school level for the Afghan School Project. The courses will be internationally recognized.

Annette Levesque: “The teachers have agreed to volunteer their time to provide the credits to these students.”

The Afghan School Project has had so much success that it now receives 700 hundred students and counts some 40 employees. All of this has a cost of about $15,000 per year. This cost is almost completely covered by local donations.

Ryan Aldred: “We don’t take any salaries for the work we do.”

We don’t take a salary and every dollar given to the school is invested in the school, assures Mr. Aldred.

Every volunteer puts in a couple of hours a week.

Victoria Gauthier: “That helps a lot, yes, because if we have 40 volunteers, that is a lot of help.”
The project received help from CIDA last year; the Canadian International Development Agency pays for the rent of the building where the school has recently moved to, approximately $60,000.

Nicolas Lacroix: “This is one of the projects that we are pretty proud of here in Kandahar. It is not one of our costly projects, but it is one where we have seen tangible results, making it an excellent investment.”

There have already been some hundred women who have received their diploma from the Afghan School. And many of them now work for the reconstruction of their country with non-governmental organizations.

Unidentified student: “I would like to brighten my future.”

I would like a better future than that of my parents who did not receive an education and live in blackness, states this student.

Ryan Alrdred: “I am very proud.”

Ryan Aldred is very proud to see that with a handful of volunteers, a couple thousand dollars, he is successfully changing the lives of so many people at the other end of the world.

Population : 31,100,000 habitants (2008)
Annual income/habitant: $335 (2006)
Life expectancy (men): 44 years (2007)
Life expectancy (women): 46 years (2007)

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Share the Love with the Canadian International Learning Foundation

The Canadian International Learning Foundation is a nominee in’s Share the Love program.

Through Share the Love, we will receive a minimum donation of $500, and you can help us earn an even larger donation – a total of $5,000 per category is available! Proceeds will support the Afghan-Canadian Community Center via our Afghan School Project.

Here’s how to help: Go to (or click the Vote button below) and cast your vote for the Canadian International Learning Foundation in the International category. No registration is required!

The final number of votes cast for us will determine how much of an additional donation will award our organization. You can vote once a day for the duration of the voting period which runs from April 6 to May 15, 2009. Also, please consider sharing this article with family and friends who might also be willing to vote for us.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support – it is deeply appreciated by myself, our volunteers and our students!

Best Regards,

Ryan Aldred
The Canadian International Learning Foundation

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Afghan-Canadian Community Center opens new opportunities to women in Kandahar

Center offers valuable education, Internet access to the women of Afghanistan

OTTAWA, ON (May 3, 2007) – In conjunction with the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CILF) and and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), the Afghan School Project, a joint program between Afghan educators and Canadian volunteers, has opened the doors of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC), offering both a vocational school for women and a safe place for women to access the Internet in Kandahar.

Located in residential Kandahar, Afghanistan, the ACCC brings the school to the students and promotes safe, accessible education for women trying to build a better future for themselves and their community. The ACCC is highly efficient, boasting a cost-per-student of less than CAN$20 per month.

The ACCC offers courses for female students, including classes in business management, Information and Computing Technology (ICT), English and health care. Along with a dedicated team of expert instructors, including computer and business professionals and a medical doctor, the students’ education is aided by Internet-enabled computers and the ongoing support of Canadian volunteers.

In early January 2007, the ACCC opened the Women’s Internet Room and became the first facility in Kandahar to offer women access to the Internet at no cost. Internet access provides women with the opportunity to research information, and provides them with the opportunity to use e-mail and instant messaging software as an inexpensive means of communicating with family and friends.

Already, the ACCC’s classes have grown to over one hundred students. This is an impressive achievement, given that the literacy rate for women in Afghanistan is only 14% (according to a UNICEF report from 2006). Although more than 5 million students have returned to school in Afghanistan, 45 to 50% of students still lack access to basic education.

Through the school’s Internet forum, students can also ask questions, access tutorials and browse dozens of job postings for positions related to their training. Students also use the forum to publish essays on development, women’s rights and a variety of other subjects.

In the months to come, many students will have access to the online courses of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), which has generously agreed to provide access to their courses at no cost. SAIT is a Calgary-based vocational school with an internationally-recognized curriculum, including courses in business, computing and health care.

With billions of dollars worth of international aid devoted to the development of Afghanistan, the technological, administrative and linguistic skills provided by the ACCC will be in high demand by development agencies in southern Afghanistan.

In the words of Suhila, one of the ACCC’s students, “The future looks bright, and with solid educational opportunities, the women of Afghanistan will lead the way forward.”

About CILF

The Canadian International Learning Foundation (CILF) is a non-profit, Ottawa-based organization that offers valuable learning opportunities and vocational training for students in need around the world. Our goal is to provide at-risk populations with the skills required to emerge from conflict and poverty by partnering with experienced educators in developing countries to offer low-cost, effective education and employment-oriented training.

About CW4WAfghan

CW4WAfghan is a volunteer not-for-profit organization founded in 1996 with 14 chapters and affiliated groups across Canada. The goals of CW4WAfghan are to raise funds for health and education programs for women and girls in Afghanistan, and to raise awareness in Canada of the need to secure and protect human rights for Afghan women. The Afghan School Project is pleased to partner with CW4WAfghan and their sponsors, Rights & Democracy. Through this partnership, donations of CAN$100 or more are eligible for tax receipts for the Afghan School Project.

About the Afghan School Project

For further information regarding the Afghan School Project and the ACCC, please visit our website at

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