Cheers to funky art and supporting international education!

Irene’s Pub in Ottawa hosts 4th annual art auction on January 25th to raise funds for the Canadian International Learning Foundation. Please click here to RSVP via facebook!

What’s better than a night out with friends at Irene’s Pub? How about one that also lets you scoop up funky local art and improve education in impoverished countries like Afghanistan, Uganda and Nepal?

Irene’s Pub is hosting its fourth-annual art auction, Everybody’s Art Show, on Wednesday, January 25, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  It’s a free event with no tickets required. Funds raised from the auction’s funky paintings, jewelry, pictures and bugle lamps will support the Canadian International Learning Foundation. Based in Ottawa and run by volunteers, the Foundation helps improve education in regions of poverty, war or illness.

“The auction’s appeal is in the variety of art donations. Plus, it’s just a fun night at the pub supporting a good cause,” says Patricia Golding from Irene’s Pub. “The art is on display here now and you can already see people picking out their favourites.”

So far more than 20 pieces have been donated by local amateur and professional artists, and more contributions are welcome. Most pieces range in value from $50 to $200.

Funds raised will support Canadian International Learning Foundation initiatives including the Educator Volunteer Network ( The Network is a new online community where teachers in impoverished or war-torn regions can receive mentorship and assistance from skilled online volunteers. Many volunteers are located in Ottawa.

“Funds raised in the auction will improve the lives of students in need overseas, while helping give volunteers a safe, simple way to get involved,” says Ryan Aldred, President of the Canadian International Learning Foundation.

“For example, online volunteers are helping plan new community libraries in rural Zimbabwe, where it’s now common for an entire class to share a single book. Other volunteers are mentoring educators in Kathmandu or doing architectural design for a new school in Afghanistan,” explains Aldred.

Past recipients of funding through Everybody’s Art Show were a student at the Ottawa School of Art, an art program for children in Thunder Bay and the Glebe Community Center.

Irene’s Pub is located at 885 Bank Street in Ottawa ( Please visit for information on the event and the Canadian International Learning Foundation.

For more information contact:

Ryan Aldred
President, Canadian International Learning Foundation
(613) 614-5349
[email protected]








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Educators in at-risk areas invited to receive help from skilled online volunteers

The Canadian International Learning Foundation is looking for educators in regions affected by war, illness or poverty to join our new Educator Volunteer Network (EVN).

The EVN is a social website ( where educators can receive mentoring and one-on-one assistance from online volunteers in a range of fields, including teacher training, information technology, communications and strategy. The EVN also provides educators and volunteers with training, a library of resources and a place to share information and ideas together online.

For example, the EVN volunteers and resources could help you to improve a mathematics course you are teaching, write a grant request letter or plan for the future years of your school.

Both educators and volunteers must apply to be members of the EVN.  There is no charge for membership. If you think the EVN could help you to help your students, please read the information below and apply to join.

Areas of Assistance

  • Education Development: Developing curriculum plans and specific lessons and creating partnerships with recognized educational institutions.

Examples: Editing English or mathematics lessons, or obtaining online classes from accredited institutions in the United States or Canada.

  • Infrastructure and Information Technology: Improving schools’ facilities and implementing new technologies, such as low-power computing and renewable energy.

Examples: Helping decide which laptops and programs might help your school, editing a request for donations of second-hand computers, or planning for water pumps at your school.

  • Communications: Building public awareness and support for your school and encouraging students to share their stories with the world.

Examples: Developing a website for the school, editing stories about the school and helping the school use websites such as Facebook or Twitter if appropriate.

  • Business and Strategy: Planning for the future of your school, identifying new sources of funds and finding ways to reduce costs.

Examples: Editing a grant application, helping prepare a school budget or writing a business plan.

Requirements for Joining the EVN

  • Access to the Internet: Educators should have Internet access at least once a week for several hours. It is best if the Internet is available at your school but the EVN also accepts educators with regular access to Internet cafes.
  • Proof of registration: Educators must show proof that your school is a legally registered business, non-profit organization, charitable organization or government entity. If you are unable to legally register because of oppression or discrimination from the government, you will need to obtain signed references from at least 2 prominent members of the community, such as lawyers, doctors, elected officials, business owners, religious officials or journalists.
  • Regard for human rights: To be a member of EVN, you must sign a legally binding agreement that says you and your school will not deny entrance or discriminate against a student because of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, tribal affiliation or sexual orientation. However, we do allow schools to focus on a specific gender or ethnic group if the group has fewer educational opportunities.
  • Respect for the EVN’s purpose: EVN is designed to help share knowledge and expertise. It is not designed to provide direct financial assistance, and educators should not ask volunteers to donate their own money or to hold fundraisers. Educators can ask volunteers for help approaching businesses or foundations for grants, but should also ask for help with other things such as education development.
  • A willingness to share, explore and try something new: We want the EVN to be full of innovative educators who are excited to be part of something new, and willing to share stories of their school and students with the volunteers who are working to help improve the quality of education at their institution.

How to Apply to Join the EVN

To apply, e-mail [email protected] to request an application form.  For more information, please visit us online at

About the Canadian International Learning Foundation

The Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) is an Ottawa-based, volunteer-run registered charity that provides and promotes professional education in areas of the world affected by war, illness and poverty.

CanILF sponsors scholarships, purchases equipment and provides development assistance for a school in Kandahar, the Afghan-Canadian Community Center. Our partnership has helped hundreds of students receive high-paying jobs, support themselves and their families and participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Through the Uganda Literacy and Education Program, CanILF sponsors scholarships and provides educational equipment for St. Paul’s Kabira Adult Attention and School of Orphans (KAASO). CanILF sponsors dozens of student scholarships through KAASO’s Community Empowerment Program, which provides training in business, literacy and small-scale industry and agriculture.

In 2011, CanILF created the Educator Volunteer Network (EVN) based on the success of the online partnerships it created between educators at these two schools and skilled volunteers in Canada. The goal of the EVN is to one day have a team of trained, dedicated international online volunteers for every educator whose students are struggling to overcome war, illness or poverty.

For more information on CanILF, please visit  To learn more about the EVN, visit

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Join the CanILF Race Team for the Ottawa Army Run!

Meet the Race Team…

Erin Collins (half marathon)

Matthew Walthert (half marathon)

Martha Trudeau (half marathon)

Jessica Aldred (5K)

Ryan Aldred (5K)

Shareif Mahmoud (5K)

Kate Bondett (5K)

Not running, but want to help? Donate here to help the CanILF Team meet their goal!

Are you interested in taking part in the Army Run happening on September 18th in Ottawa? Would you like to help students struggling to overcome war and poverty? If so, you can join the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) Army Run Team and help provide scholarships for women and children in Afghanistan.

When it costs as little as $10 per month to send a student to school, you don’t have to raise a lot of money to make a big difference. We’re looking for runners to join our Team to raise money for scholarships, with the suggested goal of raising $60 per runner. We’re hoping to send at least four students to school for a year – at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center in Kandahar.

CanILF is a volunteer charity that mentors educators and provides student scholarships and educational equipment at partner schools in areas affected by war, illness and poverty – to learn more, visit The Army Run is the perfect opportunity for runners (and walkers) of all types to get together to raise awareness about this important cause.

Want to join our Team? Then e-mail us and we’ll provide you with a fundraising and information package that you can send to family, friends and co-workers. We’ll be holding a post-Race party for Team Members – refreshments included – to thank everyone who took part.

To sign up, please contact Ryan at [email protected].

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Terralog Technologies Helps Bring Internet to Uganda Orphanage

The Canadian International Learning Foundation is pleased to announce the receipt of a substantial donation from Terralog Technologies Inc. This, along with money raised from our individual donors, funded a much-needed computer lab upgrade and brought Internet access to the Kabira Adult Attention and School for Orphans (KAASO) in rural Rakai, Uganda.

The new Internet lab is a life-changing improvement for the students, staff, and volunteers at KAASO. Previously, the staff and volunteers of KAASO had to travel by motorcycle to a neighboring village and pay charges that exceeded the daily wage of most Ugandans in order to get online. The newly acquired Internet access can be used on-site by staff, allowing for a more convenient and quicker access to information when preparing lesson plans as well as keeping in touch with donors and partners.

Access to the Internet brings many benefits for the staff and students of KAASO, including the ability to obtain critical information about HIV, malaria, and many other local health and security issues. Furthermore, Internet access makes it easier to apply for additional grants and funding to further improve the lives of students. The students can benefit by participating in CanILF’s online professional education and English courses.

According to Dominic, Director of KAASO,  the Internet lab is not only helping the school but also helping the community. The lab is now the only Internet access point in the entire Kabira sub-county of Uganda, which has 34 primary and 3 secondary schools. He explains: “Before many of our teachers and other people from this community could not understand if you talked of Internet and its related features like surfing, website, email… but now at least they know some of these.” Dominic is very pleased to be able to share this critical resource with the wider community.

Older students, many of whom have never had the opportunity to surf the Internet before, are already using the lab for online learning, and there are plans to expand the lab use to younger students in the near future.  Dominic also wishes to set up a KAASO website where volunteers, supporters, and students will be able to interact and share stories and information about life at KAASO.

The lab is not only a key educational resource but also provides KAASO’s many international volunteers with a quick way to keep in touch with loved ones at home. Recently, a group of North American volunteers at KAASO were even able to use the lab to watch an American football game online.

In addition to helping fund this technical upgrade, Terralog also generously donated over a thousand dollars toward improving KAASO’s small library. Additional books at every reading level, as well as reference materials for the teachers and staff, ensure that the students at KAASO are receiving the best possible opportunities to learn.

CanILF appreciates the interest and commitment that Terralog, and all of our donors, have made to the cause of global education. We look forward to seeing and experiencing the positive impact that these donations will have on the quality of education for students in Uganda.

To follow KAASO on Facebook, please click here.

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CIDA Approves New Grant for ACCC

We are thrilled to announce that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has approved a new grant for the Afghan-Canadian Community Center, CanILF’s partner school in Kandahar. More to follow soon!

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A Canadian Teacher’s Take on Afghan Education

Dear Mr. Oliphant,

I am a constituent of Don Valley West, and am concerned about the state of a school in Kandahar, Afghanistan — the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre (ACCC) — which is supported by a charity, the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF). As you may have read in today’s Toronto Star, the ACCC is in serious financial trouble, due to its inability to secure continued funding from the Canadian International Development Agency.

I am a high school teacher in Scarborough, at a school which has a very large Afghan-Canadian population. In addition, two Afghan-Canadian teachers at my school have started an program, the Canadian-Afghan Student Success Initative (CASSI), which seeks to connect Afghan-Canadian students and their parents more directly with the school. This sort of program is necessary in Canada because the transition between the shoddy educational infrastructure in Afghanistan and our excellent system is often a difficult one.

A few years ago, I had a student named Mariyam. She was 16 and in a Grade 10 Science class, and a really sweet girl. We’d talk all the time about life, and school, and the transition from Afghanistan to Canada — she’d grown up in Kandahar and moved to Toronto maybe a year or two earlier. Her written English skills were very shaky, so I asked about how much English she’d learned in school back home. “Oh, I never went to school back home,” she replied — which completely knocked me over.

“Never went to school, ever?”

“No, I just stayed at home with my mom and helped look after the house.”

I hadn’t even considered this to be an option for children, but as I learned more about what life was (and is) like in Kandahar, it is sadly not that surprising to me anymore, especially for girls. Mariyam ended up passing the course, improving her science knowledge and lab skills, and improving her English — but the main lesson I took away from teaching her was that there was a part of the world where children, mainly girls, simply do not have the opportunity to get any sort of education whatsoever.

Education is a basic human right. We all have the right to learn, to better ourselves as people and to acquire the skills to improve our lot in life, free from threats and harassment. The ACCC provides this vital service to the young people of Kandahar, mostly girls, who desire nothing but this basic right. I can’t understand why CIDA would choose not to support this modest yet extremely important initiative, which not only accomplishes the direct goal of helping to educate girls in Kandahar, but also serves to form a good impression of Canada in the minds of the vast majority of the citizens in that hardscrabble city. I humbly request that you use your position as my Member of Parliament to impress upon CIDA the importance of the ACCC, and CanILF’s role in supporting it.

Thank you in advance,

Jason Law

On behalf of the volunteers at CanILF and the staff and students at the ACCC, I would like to thank Mr. Jason Law for taking the time to write his Member of Parliament, and for sharing his letter with us. It’s easy to forget that not everyone has the same kind of educational opportunities as we do in Canada but, as Jason proves with his letter, this kind of oppression also affects our fellow Canadians, such as Mariyam and her family.

Want to help? Please click here to learn more, and for a sample letter to send to your Member of Parliament. Please also feel free to share your letter with us at [email protected].

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Help Save the Afghan-Canadian Community Center

Update: CIDA approved renewed funding for the ACCC on International Women’s Day 2011. Our deepest thanks go to all of you who took the time to write your Members of Parliament – we couldn’t have done it without you!

As recently noted in the Toronto Star, Government of Canada funding for the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) is set to end on February 28th, 2011. Without renewed support, the ACCC will need to take urgent steps to cut costs: we will need to lay off teachers and close classes, closing the door on higher education for many brave Afghan women.

A cut-back of the ACCC would be a huge loss to the women of Kandahar, the nation of Afghanistan and the Canadian taxpayer. Dollar for dollar, the Canadian International Development Agency’s (CIDA’s) investment in the ACCC has been one of the most cost-effective development projects in Kandahar province. As a result of Government of Canada support, the ACCC has more  than 2,000 students and graduates and more than 4,000 total beneficiaries.

With a further investment of $650,000 and a new facility, we can bring the ACCC to the point of self-sustainability. This investment will bring long-term hope and opportunity for the women of Kandahar, who struggle against incredible odds to build a better life for themselves and their families. The ACCC is a vital part of Canada’s legacy in Kandahar, where Canadians have sacrificed have so much for the sake of peace, stability and human rights.

To help, please write your Member of Parliament (MP) and express your support for the Afghan-Canadian Community Center. Tell them that you care about the women of Kandahar, and that you want the Government of Canada to support this incredible success story. For your convenience, we have included a sample letter below.

To find your MP’s e-mail address, please click here. Please also CC Minister Oda’s office at [email protected].

Subject: CIDA Support for the Afghan-Canadian Community Center

Dear (Name of your Member of Parliament):

I recently learned that the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) may close due to a lack of funding. I wish to express my support for the work done by the ACCC and respectfully ask that you do all you can to ensure that the ACCC’s current business plan receives support from the Canadian International Development Agency. The current CIDA grant for the ACCC is set to end on February 28th, 2011 and, if new funding is not approved soon, the Center will need to take immediate measures to lower costs, including laying off teachers and closing classes.

The ACCC has proven itself to be one of the most successful development projects in Kandahar province, with more than 2,000 students and graduates and more than 4,000 total beneficiaries. Not only do employed ACCC graduates support an average of 6 family members, many work with firms which play key roles in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The ACCC is also a leading provider of women’s education in Kandahar, and more than half of its students are women.

The Afghan-Canadian Community Center is supported by the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF), a team of volunteers in Canada and around the world that fund the school’s activities and help people from around the world to learn about the challenges faced by Afghan women and volunteer in support of education in Afghanistan. This grant would also help them to continue and expand their volunteer efforts, and teach valuable professional skills to a new generation of Canadian volunteers.

While the ACCC has made significant steps toward self-sufficiency since the institution was established in early 2007, it needs more help to ensure the Center can continue its valuable work. If the Government of Canada can help obtain a permanent building for the ACCC, the entire program will cost less than $650,000 over three years, a tiny fraction of what is being spent on military efforts in Afghanistan. This is a small price to pay to ensure a lasting legacy for Canadian sacrifices in Kandahar.

As a concerned constituent, I urge you to contact Minister Oda’s Office and CIDA’s Afghan Task Force to express your support for the Afghan-Canadian Community Center.

For further information, please visit CanILF’s Afghan School Project at or contact President Ryan Aldred at [email protected]


(Please include your full name and address in any correspondence with your Member of Parliament.)

En Francais:

Cher/Chêre hon. (Député),

J’ai appris dans les derniers jours que le Centre communautaire afghan-canadien (ACCC) pourrait être obligé à mettre fin à son programme par manque de fonds. J’aimerais exprimer mon appui au travail de l’ACCC en vous demandant respectueusement de faire ce que vous pouvez pour assurer que le nouvel plan d’affaires soumis par l’ACCC reçoit l’approbation de l’Association canadienne de développement international (ACDI). La subvention courante de l’ACDI  pour l’ACCC prend fin le 28 février 2011 et, si une nouvelle subvention n’est pas approuvée bientôt, le Centre sera obligé de réduire ses dépenses par diverses mesures, notamment par mettre à pieds des professeurs et par fermer des classes.

L’ACCC s’est rélévé être un des meilleurs projets de développement dans la province de Kandahar, avec plus de 2 000 étudiants et diplômés, la plupart d’entre eux étant des femmes, et plus de 4 000 bénéficiaires. Les diplômés qui trouvent des emplois supportent en moyenne des familles de six personnes, et un grand nombre d’entre eux travaillent pour des organisations qui aident à la reconstruction d’Afghanistan, comme par exemple le Programme alimentaire mondial. Le travail indispensable réalisé par l’ACCC a contribué à l’amélioration la réputation de notre pays au sein de la communauté internationale et le Centre est devenu le sujet de rapports par Al-Jazeera, la NPR et The Times (Royaume-Uni).

Depuis son établissement en 2007, le Centre a avancé vers l’autosuffisance financière mais l’organisation a néanmoins encore besoin d’aide pour assurer sa contribution continue en Afghanistan. Si le gouvernement du Canada pourrait aider l’organisation à obtenir un édifice permanent, le coût du programme entier serait inférieur à 650 000 $ pendant les trois prochaines années, ce qui serait un prix très abordable pour assurer un héritage durable pour les Canadiens après nos sacrifices en Kandahar.

En tant que citoyen inquiet, je vous encourage à communiquer avec le bureau de la ministère Oda et l’ACDI pour exprimer votre support pour l’ACCC.

Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez consulter le site web du projet : ou encore contacter le président de CanILF, Ryan Aldred: [email protected]

Veuillez agréer, Madame/Monsieur, l’expression de mes sincères salutations,

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Erin’s Army Run for the Afghan School Project

On September 19th, Erin Collins (a CanILF volunteer) will run the Army Run 5K to benefit the Afghan School Project, which supports the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre (ACCC) in Kandahar. The ACCC teaches 1,800 students in Kandahar, over half of whom are women who attend free of charge. The ACCC teaches business and technology skills, and also operates the largest free computer lab in Afghanistan. It costs just $10 to send a student to school for one month, so please give generously. Visit her giving page here.

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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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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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