My first contact with AIWR several years ago involved their arranging for me to mentor a woman senator in Afghanistan who needed assistance with mastering legal English. The senator was a very impressive person who worked tirelessly to help improve the situation for women in her country. Together we reviewed international human rights standards, international criminal courts, and women's rights issues. More recently AIWR has arranged for me to mentor attorneys working with Justice for All, a women's rights organization in Kabul. While helping my students master legal English, we delve into discussions on international human rights laws, comparative constitutional rights, the role of religion and government, and other fascinating topics. I have learned so much while "teaching" these brave, dedicated attorneys, and am inspired by the work they do to help their female clients and the cause of women in Afghanistan. Soon we will be embarking on a project to translate into English all the Afghan laws which affect women, to be included in an international database sponsored by the American Bar Association. The opportunities AIWR has provided to me as a volunteer are always fascinating and very rewarding, and the brave individuals it connects me with are truly inspiring. I feel honored and fortunate to be a part of the organization's mentor program.
AIWR is an amazing organization that connects women experts in the United States with women leaders in Afghanistan who have requested additional English language instruction or mentoring. As an attorney with background in women's rights issues, the organization connected me with women attorneys and senators who requested mentoring and assistance with English legal and political terminology. On a weekly basis, we have reviewed together the Afghanistan Constitution and International Law, and have discussed matters of relevance to their work. The weekly one-on-one contact (using Skype to talk over the internet) has been very enriching for me, as the women AIWR works with are all very inspiring individuals. It has been an honor and pleasure to work with these women, helping them gain the tools and skills they need to perform their important work even more effectively. After watching the crisis for women in Afghanistan from the sidelines for so many years, it is very fulfilling to finally be able to offer assistance to these women who are working so hard to improve the situation for all the women in the country.
AIWR supports English teaching for women in Afghanistan via Skype from volunteers all over the world. They match each student to a teacher and support this ongoing involvement with advice on lessons, Afghani customs and also with an on site centre manager in the facilities they use in Afghanistan. I have been a volunteer for over a year and find the arrangement works well; it has enabled me to develop my english- teaching- skills- over- skype, given me an insight into another culture from my contact with my student Afsana and, I hope, both developed her english speaking abilities and developed her knowledge of her own country and mine. I know it has given her enjoyment: our last lesson on 'Dog TV' in the USA was quite a talking point! Afsana has also contributed to the 'In the life' series that AIWR has on its website, and talked about her dreams for a brighter future for her country. So it's all good. I look forward to my lessons with her and am motivated to get them just right!
As a board member, I have witnessed the significant impact that AIWR’s long-distance Empowerment Programs have in the lives of Afghan women and girls. For example, of the 101 Afghan women and girls who participated in the English Program in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2011, over 43 (or 42%) have already used their enhanced English skills to obtain employment or education scholarships. This statistic is remarkable given the restrictions on women’s education and employment in Kandahar and the scarcity of employment or educational opportunities. The professional English teachers who donate their time to meet with their Afghan students on Skype twice a week are incredible and fully deserve a five star review for making the English Program such a success. But the true heroes of the English Program are the indomitable Afghan women and girls who risk their lives on a daily basis to seek education and employment. They deserve a 100 star review.
The Alliance is providing support for Afghanistan's greatly beleagured women through mentoring, training, and other support. through the use of long-distance Skype technology, women in Afghanistan are learning new skills, developing existing ones, and learning English so they can reach out to the international community to communicate their experiences and recieve greater support. The Alliance uses only highly skilled international professionals and experts to provide unique, one-to-one training for each Afghan woman and girl in their program. Through this mentoring, the Alliance also crosses cultural boundaries and links Western women with Afghan women, greatly increasing their shared understanding of each other's lives and experiences.
2012 Women’s Empowerment Campaign.
I have been a volunteer with Alliance for Women's Rights for the past 3 years. The women I teach are an inspiration and I am constantly amazed at their strength of character and determination. AIWR has given these women belief in themselves and the knowledge that there are other women who care about them and their future. They see education as fundemental to their future but also want to interact on a social level. My students live in very difficult situations but their sense of fun is amazing and our lessons are often full of laughter. It is difficult to express in words how much I appreciate the opportunity AIWR has given me to become a part of my students' journey. Thank you AIWR from the bottom of my heart!
I meet with a girl from Afghanistan twice per week for ESL lessons via Skype. She has an incredible passion for education, more than anything I have ever seen in my own country. I feel like I have learned just as much about her culture and country as she has learned from me. This is something I feel very lucky to have experienced, because although I have traveled a lot in the past and am familiar with a lot of cultures, this is a culture which is hard to learn about. I will treasure my volunteer experience here for the rest of my life. And as far as the organization itself, the North American-based coordinators have been helpful from day one. They are very available for questions, and for any technology-related issues that arise, and they also give good suggestions for teaching via Skype.
It is all about my student.... The stories of her day to day life that shock me and make me proud; that frighten me and make me stand in awe of her bravery. I always begin the class by asking her "How was your day?" The answer is always "fine." But most of the time, things in her life are not fine. There are the stories she has told me about the "suicides" and the battles between the terrorists and soldiers, both Afghan and America, that she witnesses on her way to school... the story of how her brothers had to huddle hidden in the corner of their small bicycle repair shop as a battle raged around them. One day, so softly I can hardly hear, she tells me about the men who sometimes follow the girls on their way to school. "They say awful things to us...." she says, but will not tell me what. She is shy with her shame. Sometimes she is filled with terror, not because of the guns or the "suicides" or the vulgar threats of the men who follow her, but of what her life might become. "Do you know what happened this week Miss?" "My parents wanted to arrange a marriage for me with a boy." "My parents told me his is a nice boy who works in town. But what would my life be then, locked up in the house, no English classes, no computer, no school." "I cried so hard," she said, "that my parents said o.k." But her brothers remind her. "What do you think you are going to do with your education, with your English?" Sometimes she dreams; dreams so small that they are nearly invisible: of going to school or living in places like Iran or Pakistan; places that are for her "freer" than Kandahar. Sometimes she remembers her childhood, and there is no joy in those moments. Then she says to me, "You know, I never had a childhood. The Taliban took it from me." I teach her English, and she teaches me what it means to be brave: to transcend a joyless childhood, to walk with death and danger every day, to struggle against all that limits her. I am so lucky to know her.
I have enjoyed every minute of my time as a volunteer for AIWR as an English teacher via Skype for a young lady who lives in Kandahar, Afghanistan. We meet twice weekly and the experience has been invaluable for us both. I am so incredibly thankful for my chance to work with AIWR : the program leaders are wonderful, helpful and encouraging. It is a terrific program with a very worthy cause.
An excellent program that helps empower women in Afghanistan through English language learning.
The Alliance for International Women's Rights helps to empower women through its outreach programs. I am most familiar with the AIWR English Program as I have voluntarily coordinated classes for the better part of the past 3.5 years. It's a tremendously successful program that matches professional female English teachers from around the globe with Afghan girls and women so they can work together online via Skype. This experience is often deeply rewarding for both parties. It gives the girls/women additional skills which can lead to better employment opportunities. The teachers have an experience that is unique and educational. They definitely gain insight into the lives of girls and women in Afghanistan. The students get to work with a teacher who has Native or near-Native proficiency. This is a rare opportunity for the students. The teacher gets to hone her patience, her ability to work online in a very tough and sporadic situation, and she gets to assist a young woman working to fulfill her educational goals. The teachers and students are all very enthusiastic. It's a wonderful way for women to reach out and empower one another. The Alliance exists because there is a need and an overwhelming desire to learn. It is successful because so many amazing women are willing to make a commitment to share their skills and knowledge. There is nothing in the world quite as sweet as working with women as they achieve their dreams.
AIWR connects women and girls in Afghanistan with women from other countries in order for them to be educated, to become more confident and to be exposed to the cultures of other countries. It prepares them for dealing with people other than their own and enables them to further their English education, AIWR puts women together so that both may learn from each other. It has been one of the best experiences in my life and the connection and bonding with one of the girls, a 17 year old student has been extraordinary for me. AIWR is extremely valuable in assisting the females in a country where their value is diminished. This kind of work is absolutely necessary if we are to achieve any kind of harmony on our planet.
I am a newcomer to the Alliance but my experience has already moved me. Chatting with and relating to a young Afghan woman and hopefully giving her a better chance for the future gives me hope for all our sakes
on this planet. It is vital that we give these women/girls a chance to help
change theirs and their families lives along with their homeland.
My student is 18 and she laughs a lot. Her English skills and her social skils are excellent. She has manners. I believe her teachers in Afghanistan are doing a wonderful job. She also plays sports which I believe is so important to physical and mental well being. She is optimistic of the future and
we need to help nurture that, support her in her endeavors. A safe place to learn and use the computer so that she can connect with the outside
world is so important. It is also important that we in the developed world have a direct connection with people in other parts of the developing world. Communication and education are the key. Helping others, compassionate serving, is what makes life worthwhile.
AIWR is an incredible organization that provides an amazing opportunity to Afghan women. I have been teaching English with AIWR for just over 2 months. Talking to my student is always a highlight of my week. She is so enthusiastic about learning English. Her motivation, considering all the odds she is up against, is inspirational! I have already recommended this program to many friends!
AIWR is making substantial and enduring contributions to girls' education in Afghanistan. The girls risk their lives every day to come to school and learn; they are eager, sincere, and courageous. It is a tremendous honor to connect with Afghan students and work with them to improve their English language reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. I LOVE this organization and our mission so much I've recruited others to teach and spend my free time sharing the word about AIWR's good work. Most of all, I am SO PROUD of our students. They ROCK.
I've been teaching with AIWR for just under a year now and it is a great experience for me as an English teacher. The Alliance does amazing work matching women living in difficult circumstances with teachers all over the the world. It is heart-warming to see my students' English level improving and inspiring to hear of their stories and plans. The support from the coordinators in Afghanistan and North America is also excellent. Keep up the great work AIWR!
I am an armchair volunteer teacher teaching English to an Afghanistan girl with the Alliance for International Women's Rights. I have just started teaching this week and worked with my student once. However the process of aligning with the organization has been flawless. This organization has been helpful in all aspects of this process. Their background, mission and details are well outlined. The staff have been very responsive with coordinating schedules for students and teachers. After the schedule was worked out, introduction letters were sent along with a carefully thought out Teachers Handbook. Included in the handbook were cultural aspects of teaching woman in Afghanistan as well as specific technical instructions for using SKYPE. As I have been teaching English in a variety of settings I was pleased to see well thought out assessment and progress forms for noting achievements. Additionally there are chat rooms and teacher forums as a venue to exchanging ideas and events. This is my first experience doing volunteer work and I am as excited about this as any of my other work. This for the most part is a result of the endeavors and successes of the AIWR.
AIWR supports women leaders and future women leaders in developing countries, where women's rights are often times almost non-existent. Through volunteers and a tireless leader in Ms. Lisa Herb, the group brings hope and opportunity where there would otherwise be none. Numerous volunteers take time to reach out through Skype and interact and teach young women who seek to make a change in their own communities. This organization shows how the world is a "small place."
Yet, the benefits extend beyond those individuals. The opportunities that this organization creates are connections between people of different cultures, which enrich all individual's lives.
The AIWR provides learning opportunities for women in a country in which women have few rights and little safety. Even seemingly simple tasks like meeting with learners for English lessons on Skype pose significant challenges given the infrastructure and cultural issues involved in working with Afghanistan. Yet the director, board members and volunteers persevere, and their commitment is making a real difference to the lives of women.
AIWR understands that volunteers are the backbone of a not-for-profit organization, and has in place practices that are vital to keeping them. So far, all my needs and wants as a volunteer have been met. I was immediately welcomed, receiving a warm reply on the same day that I applied to be an ESL tutor. I was not asked to pay a fee to volunteer (an oxymoronic trend in the international charitable world these days). I was treated as a professional, given detailed information about time commitments, technical and cultural circumstances, and general expectations (both AIWR’s and mine). I am well supported through access to educational materials, forum access to other Alliance tutors, and by a terrific volunteer coordinator who responds quickly and appropriately to technical, educational, scheduling and emotional issues. I also have the freedom to work independently within set parameters and guidelines. I have been thanked more often in my few weeks with AIWR than I was in a decade with another international development organization. And it almost goes without saying that AIWR provides me with meaningful work -- a chance to make a positive difference in a woman’s life.
As a seasoned volunteer and professional volunteer administrator, I know a well-run nonprofit when I see one, and the Alliance for International Womens Rights (AIWR) is definitely well-run. I currently teach English in China and was enthusiastic about the idea of tutoring women and girls in Afghanistan. Twice a week I have a Skype call with 14 year old Noorzia. We cover the range of English topics from family to school to adding to her growing vocabulary. She's even asked for homework (imagine a student doing that), and AIWR has access to an English as a Second Language website with excellent materials. Their volunteer handbook is thorough, and the volunteer coordinator is always an email or Skype call away to handle concerns. The administrator conducted a thorough volunteer screening interview, and their support has been superb. I can't imagine all the challenges of running a virtual nonprofit, but I think volunteer opportunities like this will continue to expand. When I share my experiences with my college students in China, they're in awe that such a group exists. I am too, and I'm very proud to be part of their work.
I enjoy volunteering with the Alliance for International Women's Rights in the Armchair ESL program. I have had great support from the organization that enables me to be successful in my work. I have worked for over two years with a student in the program and it has been a positive and enriching experience on both sides. The organization stays focused on its mission and purpose and keeps communications and requirements to a minimum in order to make the best use of volunteer time. They provide education and a forum for teachers to communicate concerns about issues that arise when working with their students and get feedback. Teachers are also offered mentoring from other teachers.
I have been working as a volunteer English teacher for the Alliance for some time, and I have had a positive experience. I am working with a teenager in Afghanistan. During our first session together, she volunteered that she wanted to become a lawyer. At the same time, she talked of her inability to travel anywhere within the province of Kandahar and beyond because of the Taliban. This young girl faces tremendous odds to come to the Afghan-Canadian Center to take English classes with me to help her better her future. The Alliance helps her to overcome these odds by not only providing instruction but also giving her an opportunity to meet people outside her community. It also provide me with the opportunity to meet a young woman who demonstrates courage, motivation and curiosity.