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,

Posted in All News Posts, Donors, Our Partners, Press Release | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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].

Posted in All News Posts, Donors, Our Partners, Press Release | Leave a comment

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!)

Posted in All News Posts, Donors | Leave a comment


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.

Posted in All News Posts, Donors, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Donors | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Press Release | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Press Release | Leave a comment