I have been working as a volunteer English tutor with Alliance for International Women's Rights for the past two years. During this time I have worked twice a week with a young Afghan student and I feel that I have been the student. Shahira has taught me much about the culture and values of a country so foreign to myself. This friendship and I use the term respectfully as even though we have a very respectful professional relationship we always find time at the end of the lesson to enquire about each other's life with curiosity and genuine concern.
I have appreciated the support and encouragement that Alliance have provided to myself as a tutor and Shahira as a tutor so that our lessons continue on a successful course. Shahira is a diligent student who also volunteers her time each day providing her teaching knowledge and skills in young children in Khandahar. She has ambitions to study at university and advocate for change in her country so that girls have equal access to education.
Women's rights in Afghanistan have suffered greatly in the past few decades. As an elementary teacher, I understand that something as fundamental as developing literacy and raising the level of education has large impacts on the individuals and the greater community.
Since 2009, I've been helping give back to a country that has lost access to those rights, working with women one-on-one through Skype. They are given the opportunity to practice and develop their English skills, gain and share new ideas in an ever-changing world. I, too, have also gained new insights through my volunteering position and have learned a lot about them and myself through this process.
The non-profit Alliance for International Women's Rights has been doing fantastic work, opening up opportunities for the women of Afghanistan who truly need and flourish off it. They are always looking for more participants and teachers; I would encourage women of all backgrounds to seek them out and support this noble initiative.
The Alliance for International Women's Rights offers a unique and wonderful way for women across the globe to support each other through long-distance volunteer programs. I have helped found and run the Alliance's long-distance English and Mentor Programs, which offer free, live, one-on-one English classes and mentoring sessions to Afghan women and girls. Twice a week, Afghan women and girls meet with a trained teacher or mentor via Skype for individualized English classes and mentoring sessions, designed to empower Afghan women and help them reach out to the international community for ideas, information, support and to help them share their experiences with the world.