Vocational Training Center for Afghan Women
Organization for Promoting Afghan Women's Capabilities
Annual Report 2014
Project Title: Vocational Training Center for Women
Project Location: Afshar District, Kabul
Donor: SAWA-Australia (SA)
Project Title: VTC (Literary Section)
Beneficiaries:300 women and young girls
Allocated Budget for 2014: US$38,000
Total expenses in 2014: US$53,685
Allocation Period: January 2014 until December 2014
Reporting Period: January 2015
OPAWC is proud to have national and international support to continue its activities in support of women finding their position in the community. OPAWC expresses its deepest thanks to all supporters of the Vocational Training Center. Your support lightens the way and lives of the poor and miserable women of Afghanistan.
The Vocational Training Center is progressing year by year, and the women coming to the center can see positive changes in their lives. This is good news for all supporters who contributed to changing the lives of these poor people.
The Literacy Section of the Vocational Training Center has shifted to a new area in Afshar District, Bala Koh. This location was selected after one month of continuous survey by the staff. They found this area important and in urgent need for women who had returned from refugee camps in Iran.
In the middle of 2014 OPAWC was able to find another source of funding from supporters in Italy. It is a project called Precious Lives, a joint project run by Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA) and OPAWC. The main aim of the project is to provide psychological counseling, legal aid and awareness activities for women coming to OPAWC's Literacy and Handicraft courses and its personnel as well.
Committees in the Vocational Training Center:
Afshar District is one of the poorest areas in Kabul city, where warlords are still in power. One of the warlords still dominant in this area is Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. All luxury building near muddy houses or tents of the poor people belong to his commanders and followers. One of OPAWC's students said: "Sayyaf is the killer of my father, but instead of being punished now he is rolling in our area, he has built his university in the name of Wahdat and teaches our young generation his own misogynist ideas."
Now Afshar District is undergoing important changes in the lives of its people. OPAWC has been working continuously in this area to help people come out of their misery and forge their destiny themselves.
OPAWC decided to set up groups of women elected by them to represent all women in each particular section of the Center, to encourage them to think that this center belongs to them and that they have the right to make decisions and to suggest things they want.
OPAWC worked hard among the women to make them ready for the committees, to follow their own cases and cooperate with the main office. Soon many women were ready to join the committees, and their trust in OPAWC grew. Each section of the Center set up its own committee. The committees have their own meetings every fortnight and then share their discussion with OPAWC's main office.
Committees in Afshar District:
OPAWC believes that change will be brought to a community by those who are dominant and influential members of the society. OPAWC therefore made it one of its goals to establish a new influential committee in Afshar that is quite unique. OPAWC together with members of HAWCA met the various legal representatives of Afshar and participated in their meetings. We introduced our goals and our project, and it was highly appreciated and supported by the members of the Committee of Representatives, who promised us to support us in any way they could.
Members of the women's committees meet representatives of Afshar district
Teachers Day was celebrated in both centers of OPAWC (Literacy and Handicraft). Students presented poetry and read articles and greeted their teachers with flowers and gifts. Members of the Afshar Committee were invited and also participated in Teacher’s Day celebrations. They were very happy to see the useful activities that OPAWC does and promised to support OPAWC in any way they could and protect the women from violence. The women were also so happy to see their representatives and elders to come to their own Center. A detailed report can be found here.
Representatives of Afshar district at the Teachers' Day celebration
Computer and English Classes:
Although financial support for computer and English classes did not continue from Australia, OPAWC was able to reestablish well equipped computer and English courses for women, where women can learn basic skills of computer and can have a chance to communicate with each other and share their ideas and stories and to learn the basic methods of the English language.
Function of Graduation:
As in every year OPAWC held a function for handing out certificates to students who successfully finished their programs. This year again OPAWC presented a huge number of students to Afghan society who are well educated and have learned some skills that help them to stand on their own feet. The function differed from functions of previous years in that the women organized the function themselves. All participants including high ranking members of the government who were present were surprised by the performance of the women in the Center. A detailed report can be found here.
Activities of Handicrafts:
The women in the Handicraft section (which is not funded by SAWA-Australia (SA) but by another organization) also progressed much. They are taking part in any discussion in the Center and they have begun to make images that enable them to convey their ideas better, as seen in this example:
2015 and beyond
OPAWC hopes that 2015 be a year of peace, happiness and security for all people in the world, and for Afghanistan in particular. OPAWC is in search of finding support to extend its activities of the Center in other provinces as well. Let us all hope for a better future.
OPAWC recent activities and participation in different workshops:
OPAWC participated in the following workshops and conferences:
A Professional Common Discussion Workshop on joint participatory Monitoring and Evaluation of Literacy Programs in Afghanistan
The workshop was held by the Ministry of Education – Deputy of Literacy in the Continental Hotel in Kabul and attended by OPAWC representatives. High ranking members of the Literacy Department and representatives from all provinces who work in the Literacy Field participated. The new methods of monitoring and evaluation especially in the provinces and villages were discussed and new ideas were presented by participants.
Suggestions from the audience included to have specific schools for vital education for those who graduated from literacy programs, so that the women and girls than can join without any difficulties after finishing their Literacy program.
Conference on the Third Report of the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security
OPAWC participated in this conference, which was arranged by Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) in Kabul city on 28 October 2014. AWN presented research made with the collaboration of national and international institutions about the adaptation of United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325. The result of this research showed that the commitment made in regard to women, peace and security has not been fulfilled. The number of women in important political and socials fields is very limited. Women do not have any role in making decisions in the peace process.
Workshop on HIV:
A two day workshop on HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) was held in the Vocational Training Center. The Workshop was held in both sections of the Center and presented by Nabila Mohammad Khalid, a 14 year old student of the Center.
Nabila presented documents with information on HIV she had gathered: What is HIV, how it affects humans, what are the ways to prevent and treat this virus. The information was very useful for the women and they participated with interest.
According to the United Nations, around 5,000 people are thought to live with HIV in Afghanistan, but only 30 percent of them have been tested. Meanwhile officials of the Health Ministry said that a lot of effort is needed to overcome the spread of HIV in Afghanistan, especially amongst mothers, throughout 2015, so this workshop was very important and timely for the women of the Center.
Common Professional Dialogue on the Issue of Literacy Teacher Training in Afghanistan
OPAWC members participated in a one day Dialogue on Literacy Teacher Training in Afghanistan held by the Ministry of Education - Deputy Ministry for Literacy with the cooperation of ANAFAE (Afghan National Association for Adult Education) and DVV (Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association) international on 19 November2014.
In addition to the participation of representatives from each institute working in literacy, high ranking members also participated.
The Deputy Minister of Education for Literacy Mohammad Azim Karbalai said in his speech: "In Afghanistan the system of learning is teacher centered rather than student centered. Literacy teachers must pass an exam and must have a certificate in this field, the teachers must have the ability and potential for the job, the teachers must not stay at the same level for years".
The audience suggested increasing the time for training of teachers from two weeks to one month. In this period they will learn all aspects of being a literacy teacher.
The Director of the Teacher Training Department Ms. Hameda Huma Nurestani spoke about the challenges teachers face in insecure provinces and villages. She added there are many challenges for us to decrease the level of illiteracy in the country such as: insecurity, lack of professional teachers, lack of fund and lack of standard methodic material for the teachers.
Suggestions raised by the audience included to establish an internet network with progressive countries in the field of literacy, to have a department of teacher training in the universities of the country, and that there should be system to pay the teachers on time.