Vocational Training Center for Afghan Women
Organization for Promoting Afghan Women's Capabilities
Computer Course Report 2013
Project Title: Vocational Training Center for Women (Literary Section)
Project Location: Kalay-Wazir, Afshar district, Kabul
Donor: Global Quest, Australia
Beneficiaries:40 women and young girls
Allocated Budget for 2012: US$6,350
Allocation Period: October 2012 until September 2013
Reporting Period: November 2013
Congratulations on graduating 40 students from the Computer Course for the second time in the Vocational Training Center. This is the biggest achievement for the poor and forlorn girls and women of Afshar district. OPAWC would like to express its deepest thanks to our supporters for bearing humanitarian feelings and supporting their lonely sisters in Afghanistan.
OPAWC has been strongly involved in education and has promoted Afghan women’s capabilities in many fields in order to support them to stand on their own feet. The women who attend the Vocational Training Centre are those who suffered the most, having lost their husbands and being homeless because of displacement to neighboring countries during three decades of war. That is why OPAWC focuses on these women and tries to support them in any way possible.
Since establishment of the Centre there was a strong wish to establish a separate class for computer skills, but OPAWC's financial situation was the obstacle to cover this need. In October 2011 SAWA-Australia (SA) applied to the Global Quest Foundation for financial support to establish a computer course, and OPAWC could finally respond positively to the women’s wish.
As soon as Global Quest approved the project OPAWC established a separate class for computer learning and arranged students in two shifts. The establishment of the computer course opened a new phase for the Vocational Training Centre. In developing our plan we decided to give priority to women who already participated in literacy and handicrafts classes of the centre.
As the course started it was showered with requests from more than 300 women and girls from the Centre and also from outside. But we gave this chance to women of the Centre, and after primary evaluation we established two classes for 40 students in two shifts.
After completion of one year of continued study the students graduated from computing and joined the English Course. OPAWC replaced the Computer Class with a further 40 new registered women and girls. These women graduated on the 28th of October 2013.
OPAWC is not sure whether it can find some money to continue the computer course into 2014 This is the reason why it did not register women for new computer classes yet. Day by day women come and ask for the computer course, but OPAWC tells them that we are trying to secure funds. If a donor agency again supports this section, soon the class will be reopened to women.
The objective of the Course was to help women of the Vocational Training Center to learn computer skills and become familiar with some computer use to help them find job in local offices or other agencies. This is to support them to stand on their own feet and earn independently and feed their children.
The second funding period for the computer course was a one year project, to begin in October 2012 and run until October 2013. It achieved excellent results. The students are able to work independently on computer and practice their lessons, they are happy to learn the basic computer skills.
The outcome of the project is fruitful in two fields. Firstly around 40 women and girls learned how to use computers and are familiar with the required skills. They are able to write down all their expenses in a spreadsheet. They can write their text in Microsoft Word, and they can design and colour their text.
Secondly these women became good instructors at their homes and could explain the use of computers to their children, who are of course always keen to learn and understand new technology which they see in their daily lives. Attending private Computer Courses is too expensive, so the women can explain the basic principles to their children at home as they can’t afford to send them to private classes. This is the biggest support for these women. No doubt they don’t have computers at their homes but they can hand on their knowledge from their lectures and texts which they received from the Centre to their children.
Result of two years of study in Computer and English Courses
Contrary to the claims of the Deputy of Literacy of the Ministry of Education that illiterate women cannot learn English or computer skills, a number of women and girls who graduated from these courses reacheda level of skill that allows them to work in different places. They work as receptionist, teacher and shop assistant and in other places. Their lives have changed and they are happy and express their thanks to all supporters, sometimes they visit the Centre and offer their time in support.
Students requested to continue the course at a higher level, but we told students that we have a long list of students whom we promised in the beginning of the project to give them a chance after the second term, so we cannot continue the class at high level at the moment. We hope we can give a positive response to these students in the future as well.
Women who participated in the computer course presented their problems to OPAWC and asked OPAWC to find a solution to them. Most of the women come to the Centre with their small babies. They said they strongly want to attend the course, but they have a problem with their babies. If they bring the babies to the Centre it creates difficulties for all, if they leave them at home again it is a problem for them and they will miss the class.
OPAWC has its own problems. Our financial situation doesn’t allow us to hire a baby sister and to allocate one room for the babies. But OPAWC told the students we will try to find some solution together with our donors. Should we be able to continue this course we must consider this problem, too.
Graduation of students
The Computer Course became famous in the community and OPAWC receives many requests to continue the course. The result shows that women have the ability to learn, no doubt that obstacles are large on their ways. So at the end of October 2013 OPAWC distributed certificate of completion to 40 students. The certificate is very important as a document of good results in the past.