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 moreÂ 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 Canadaâ€™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.
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 ACCCâ€™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 womenâ€™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 schoolâ€™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 Odaâ€™s Office and CIDAâ€™s Afghan Task Force to express your support for the Afghan-Canadian Community Center.
For further information, please visit CanILFâ€™s Afghan School Project at www.theafghanschool.org or contact President Ryan Aldred at [email protected].
(Please include your full name and address in any correspondence with your Member of Parliament.)
Cher/ChÃªre hon. (DÃ©putÃ©),
Jâ€™ai appris dans les derniers jours que le Centre communautaire afghan-canadien (ACCC) pourrait Ãªtre obligÃ© Ã mettre fin Ã son programme par manque de fonds. J’aimerais exprimer mon appui au travail de lâ€™ACCC en vous demandant respectueusement de faire ce que vous pouvez pour assurer que le nouvel plan dâ€™affaires soumis par lâ€™ACCC reÃ§oit lâ€™approbation de lâ€™Association canadienne de dÃ©veloppement international (ACDI). La subvention courante de lâ€™ACDIÂ pour lâ€™ACCC prend fin le 28 fÃ©vrier 2011 et, si une nouvelle subvention nâ€™est pas approuvÃ©e bientÃ´t, le Centre sera obligÃ© de rÃ©duire ses dÃ©penses par diverses mesures, notamment par mettre Ã pieds des professeurs et par fermer des classes.
Lâ€™ACCC sâ€™est rÃ©lÃ©vÃ©Â Ãªtre un des meilleurs projets de dÃ©veloppement dans la province de Kandahar, avec plus de 2 000 Ã©tudiants et diplÃ´mÃ©s, la plupart dâ€™entre eux Ã©tant des femmes, et plus de 4 000 bÃ©nÃ©ficiaires. Les diplÃ´mÃ©s qui trouvent des emplois supportent en moyenne des familles de six personnes, et un grand nombre dâ€™entre eux travaillent pour des organisations qui aident Ã la reconstruction dâ€™Afghanistan, comme par exemple le Programme alimentaire mondial. Le travail indispensable rÃ©alisÃ© par lâ€™ACCC a contribuÃ© Ã lâ€™amÃ©lioration la rÃ©putation de notre pays au sein de la communautÃ© internationale et le Centre est devenu le sujet de rapports par Al-Jazeera, la NPR et The Times (Royaume-Uni).
Depuis son Ã©tablissement en 2007, le Centre a avancÃ© vers lâ€™autosuffisance financiÃ¨re mais lâ€™organisation a nÃ©anmoins encore besoin dâ€™aide pour assurer sa contribution continue en Afghanistan. Si le gouvernement du Canada pourrait aider lâ€™organisation Ã obtenir un Ã©difice permanent, le coÃ»t du programme entier serait infÃ©rieur Ã 650 000 $ pendant les trois prochaines annÃ©es, ce qui serait un prix trÃ¨s abordable pour assurer un hÃ©ritage durable pour les Canadiens aprÃ¨s nos sacrifices en Kandahar.
En tant que citoyen inquiet, je vous encourage Ã communiquer avec le bureau de la ministÃ¨re Oda et lâ€™ACDI pour exprimer votre support pour lâ€™ACCC.
Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez consulter le site web du projetÂ : www.theafghanschool.org ou encore contacter le prÃ©sident de CanILF,Â Ryan Aldred: [email protected].
Veuillez agrÃ©er, Madame/Monsieur, lâ€™expression de mes sincÃ¨res salutations,