ACCC Director Ehsanullah Ehsan’s Graduation Day Report


Ehsanullah Ehsan addresses the crowd

Ehsan reports on the actions of the day and includes quotes from prominent members of the organization and people in the community.  PLUS: A text version of Ehsan’s International Women’s Day speech delivered to graduates, guests and the media present.

International Women’s Day and Graduation Speech (pdf)

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As Canadian and U.S. malls fill with grad dresses, 200 Afghan women cross the stage in Kandahar

As Canadian and U.S. malls fill with teenage girls looking for just the right prom dress, women and girls in Kandahar have just crossed a stage of their own. Two hundred female students graduated on March 10th from the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC), a 1500-student educational institute supported by the Canadian International Learning Foundation, a registered Canadian charity. The school and many individual students are sponsored by Canadian donors as well as the Canadian and U.S. governments.

Maryam was sponsored by donors through the Canadian International Learning Foundation’s Adopt a Student program. The 19-year old lives in Kandahar with her mom, sisters and brothers. “It is not easy to get an education for Afghan women, especially in Kandahar city, but we didn’t give up,” says Maryam. “All the students are really happy. My family is really proud.”

More than 600 people attended the graduation ceremony, including family members, senior Afghanistan government officials and local media. They helped the graduates celebrate an accomplishment that for many women was beyond their wildest dreams. “Until recently, receiving this type of education was something few women in Kandahar could experience,” says Ryan Aldred, President and Co-Founder of the Canadian International Learning Foundation, based in Ottawa.Sixteen of the 200 ACCC graduates received a certificate of achievement in Business Management from SAIT Polytechnic. The Calgary-based post-secondary institute has partnered with the ACCC since 2007. “The students have been logging into SAIT courses just as a Canadian student would, except they are doing it from a desk in Kandahar,” says Gord Nixon, Vice President Academic at SAIT Polytechnic. SAIT sent caps and gowns for the 16 students to wear.
Gifts of kitchen sets, stationery, clocks, shoes, clothes, school bags and teapots were distributed among the participants. These had been generously donated and prepared by UNHCR and ISAF.  The graduates and guests also enjoyed refreshments, all of which were arranged by the ACCC and its student contributions.
Sponsoring a future graduate takes just $15 per month on average, depending on the course. With a third of the 200 female graduates already securing employment, the investment is clearly life-changing.

“The students are in demand by international development agencies, local businesses and the Afghan government. It gives the women the chance to support their families and be part of the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” explains Aldred. “From past years we know that employed graduates are financially supporting an average of five family members. Not only does that mean a better life for the women and their families, but it also helps to slowly show the community the value of women and of women’s education.”

Mehmood Karzai - President of Ayno Foundation

“These results are thanks to the continued support provided to us by the benevolent people of Canada and the very generous financial assistance given to us by the Canadian government through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The U.S. Department of State has also supported our English and leadership courses,” says Ehsanullah Ehsan, Director of the ACCC.

The ACCC started in 2007 with a small group of students and the help of the Canadian International Learning Foundation. Today, it is a respected institution with 1,500 students, most of whom are female. Students receive an education in business management, Information Technology, English and communications. More than half the ACCC’s funding is provided by the Canadian government through CIDA. That funding will continue until September 2012. Individual donors sponsor students like Maryam.

To learn more or to donate to send a Kandahar woman to school, visit the Canadian International Learning Foundation’s website at www.canilf.org.

Media Contact
Robyn Crawford
Canadian International Learning Foundation
Mobile: 403.650.4608
[email protected]
www.canilf.org

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Join the CanILF Race Team for Ottawa Race Weekend

Are you interested in taking part in Ottawa Race Weekend on May 26 & 27 (www.runottawa.ca)? Would you like to help students struggling to overcome war and poverty? If so, you can join the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) Race Team and help educators and students around the world.

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 Race Team to raise money for scholarships, with the suggested goal of raising $60 per runner.  These scholarships will be given to students at our partner schools in Afghanistan and Uganda as well as to educators around the world who have joined our Educator Volunteer Network.

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, click here. Ottawa Race Weekend 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 [email protected] 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.

Not a runner? Then come out and join CanILF volunteers in cheering on our Race team!

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Art-lovers unite at Irene’s Pub, raising $1800 for international education

Lovers of art, international education and nights out with friends gathered at Irene’s Pub on January 25, 2012, for the fourth-annual Everybody’s Art Show. Filled with funky and affordable local creations, the art auction raised $1,800 for the Ottawa-based Canadian International Learning Foundation (www.canilf.org), a registered Canadian charity that helps improve education for students living in impoverished or war-torn regions.

More than 20 pieces were donated by local amateur and professional artists, including Ruby Ewan, Kym Shumsky, Jaya Krishnan and Peter Fiander, as well as Val Roy, who has donated art every year and is having her own show at Irene’s Pub until March 3. Many of the donations became fast favourites for pub customers and staff.

“We’re really thankful to Irene’s Pub and to everyone who donated art, took home a new piece or volunteered that night,” says Ryan Aldred, President of the Canadian International Learning Foundation. “We’re a small, volunteer-run charity, so the funds will go a long way, particularly when it costs as little as $10 a month to sponsor a student scholarship in Afghanistan or Uganda.”

One of the projects the art auction funds will support is the Educator Volunteer Network (www.educatorvolunteer.net), a new online community where teachers from countries like Nepal, Zimbabwe and Tanzania can receive mentorship and assistance from skilled online volunteers. The volunteers are helping with everything from teaching English to school administrators over Skype to building school websites and improving curriculum.

“These are the kind of projects that can transform at-risk schools into thriving institutions,” says Ryan. “’Everybody’s Art Show is a wonderful fit – accessible art for accessible education.”

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

Businesses interested in supporting the Canadian International Learning Foundation or the Educator Volunteer Network through events, grants or in-kind donations can contact [email protected] for information.

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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 (www.educatorvolunteer.net). 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 (www.irenespub.ca). Please visit www.canilf.org 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 (www.educatorvolunteer.net) 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 www.educatorvolunteer.net.

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 www.canilf.org.  To learn more about the EVN, visit www.educatorvolunteer.net.

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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 www.canilf.org. 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
Toronto

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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