Americans and Afghans Working Toward a Better Tomorrow in Afghanistan
Aeshaq, a young man from a rural village near Ghazni, Afghanistan, grew up witnessing injustices, war, terrorism, and abuse - as everyday occurances. Among other evils, he was particularly appalled at the denial of education to his sisters and mother.
(Photo by Aref Yaqubi)
In 2012, Aeshaq arrived in the United States as a refugee with the continued determination to help his country. While learning English, he learned from American friends about the Montessori Method for promoting early childhood education. He resolved to bring to children in Ghazni, including his own, the benefits of the Montessori educational method, and to create a model by which to spread the very concept of early childhood education in Afghanistan.
Montessori encourages children to select from among materials designed to teach proportions, colors, spacial relationships, mathematics, and other concepts. An important part is allowing children to make a mistake and encouraging cooperative activity so that children can correct mistakes of each other.
In 2013, Aeshaq, operating from California via social media, email and with contributions from local American friends, co-created a school in Ghazni: Wind of Hope. The first Wind of Hope class was made possible by supporters of the Awesome Foundation, the Hayward-Ghazni Sister City Committee, and Carol Ruth Silver’s charity fund, World Family Development and Education Program.
Wind of Hope is a non-profit school, dedicated to creating and expanding Montessori-inspired home-based pre-school in Ghazni. Aeshaq’s children were included in the first class of 16.
Two classmates from the second Wind of Hope school
"Through this Montessori-inspired program, children are able to develop their natural curiosity, to learn to love to discover new things, and particularly to develop their ability to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. I only wish that there had been something like this when I was growing up."
Since 2013, Wind of Hope has been positively impacting the lives of children in Ghazni, both those who attend and those only the waitlist. Local parents are beginning to explore and learn about early childhood education and seek to enroll their children. This is the first ever Montessori-inspired home-based pre-school in Afghanistan.
The children, aged from 3 to 7 years old, with no more than 20 in a class, have gathered every afternoon, six days a week, for three hours a day, in a private home on the outskirts of Ghazni City.
In the beginning of 2016, a second Wind of Hope class was established at a different home with Montessori materials and inspiration. Both classes are flourishing!
Montessori materials fasctinate
This is a small beginning for a small project, which could however – Inshallah – God Willing -- grow into a major influence on the culture and the attitudes of the younger generations in Afghanistan.
The next challenge is to raise funds sufficient to repeat the creation and support of additional classes, focusing on the model of an independent Montessori-inspired, home-based pre-school.
Many people have helped to make and sustain this little school. Some of the people are in the pictures below. Some supporters are anonymous, but nonetheless crucial.
First Teacher / Mentor
First Web Master
Translator and Montessori Materials Donor
Montessori Teacher Trainer Consultant