a scholarship fund for underprivileged Afghan students
Over the past fifteen years, the education system of Afghanistan, once devastated by civil war and extremist policies, has been restored. Schools were built and re-built. Girls were invited back. Education began once again in earnest.
But even with these remarkable changes, there are deep-rooted problems. A shortage of teachers means that classroom sizes often exceed fifty students in a crowded room. Corruption practices mean that bribery is more important than performance. And teacher absenteeism often exceeds that of the students. In the midst of this, private schools have filled a huge gap left by the government schools in terms of quality. They’ve offered the highest quality education available for communities desperate for education. But for families living on $100 or $200 per month, who can afford $20 a month per child to go to school?
For the past seven years, Dream Afghanistan, a private school in a remote town of Afghanistan, has been trying to address this need. The school was founded by a partnership between a concerned American and an Afghan passionate for education and the good of his community.
With the help of international donors, the school has grown from 120 students to 600 at one point. Current enrollment is at 550 students with more anticipated for the 2018 school year. Most of these students come from families able to pay the $15 per month for tuition.
The project aims to provide a sustainable model of development. Though started with international aid, the school now runs 80-90% off of its own revenues. The school vision is owned and initiated by the director and the community.
But some cannot afford these tuition fees. They see a private school as outside the realm of possibility for their family. They see good education as beyond their reach. So for the past five years, sponsors from the US and Europe have provided 50% tuition scholarships so that poor families can also send their children to the school. In 2017, these sponsors provided 97 scholarships. In 2018, we aim to continue these 97 scholarships and recruit 53 new students from needy families to attend the school.
The Need for Scholarships
Approximately $7 per month or $80 per year, provides a half-tuition scholarship for students that would not otherwise be able to afford to send their children to the best school in their community. This covers the costs half of the costs for the monthly tuition. The students’ families express their own commitment to their future by covering the costs of books, uniforms, and entrance themselves.
Scholarship recipients are often the families of blue-collar workers or of teachers (who are usually paid $150 per month). They are hard-working families looking for opportunities for their children in a competitive world. Each year the director and other administrators of the school receive applications for the scholarships. Then a person outside of the school community, in partnership with MRDS, interviews the students and confirms that the applications are legitimate. Students are then enrolled in the school and they then work to provide the other 50% of their tuition costs.
Unfortunately, on-going security concerns in country prevent us from providing individual student profiles at the school. However, we seek to provide regular updates about the school and are always available to respond to questions about the students and the school program.
In turn, they receive the best education available in their community. The teachers actually come to class and they apply the best educational methods available in the community. And repeatedly, community members comment that students at the school are far more advanced in their subjects than those at other schools.
How You Can Help
In partnership with the community and the director, we want to ensure the school isn’t only for the rich and influential. We want to make sure it provides opportunity for girls as well as lower class families.
To contribute to the scholarship program, donate online at mrds.org/donate. Designate funds to AfghanDream.001.
The school year in Afghanistan begins in March and runs through December. We are now looking to fill all of the scholarship needs for 2018!
Help us to fill the need for 2018! And for the Christmas season, consider giving a gift in someone’s name for the good of Afghan children.
(remember, use designation code AfghanDream.001)