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Community Based Education Centres - Afghanistan

In the space of 3 years, Children in Crisis will deliver a full primary school education to 300 out of school children in some of Kabul’s poorest districts.

These children will be taught in our community based education centres (CBECs), from where we also offer homework support classes to children already attending school as well as vocational and literacy training to women.

Why Community Based Education?

Children in Crisis has been running community education centres in Kabul since 1998 gaining valuable skills and expertise in that time. We run these centres simply because there is a huge need for them. To list just a few reasons:

5 million children are out of school. This is over 40% of Afghanistan’s school-age children not able to access an education and so stuck in the same poverty trap as their parents before them.

Children born into conflict and barred from school. With the fall of the Taliban, a huge number of children, previously unable to go to primary school tried to enrol. To prevent schools from becoming overwhelmed or oversubscribed a law was passed stopping any child over the age of 9 from starting primary school. As a result, thousands of children are unable to enter the education system, simply because they were born into conflict.

Girls are given a particularly bad deal. Either through traditional attitudes which oppose the education of girls, or because families fear for their safety and potential Taliban attacks. Of the 5 million children out of school, a disproportionate number are girls.

How We Help

Accelerated Learning

Children in Crisis uses accelerated learning techniques to deliver an intensive, quality education to out of school children. Our students show considerable commitment as they work throughout the state school holidays, only taking breaks for public holidays.

A student of accelerated learning class showing off his handwriting

Three years and a transformation.

Within 3 years our accelerated learning classes enable out of school children to cover the complete Afghan primary school syllabus. Many of our students first arrive at our CBECs unable to read or write, some as old as 14, they will leave with a full primary school education under their belt. The value of this education alone is huge, but we also have an agreement with the Afghanistan Ministry of Education that these children will be guaranteed a place in state secondary school.

At the heart of the community and engaged from the start

Our education centres are based right at the heart of the communities that they serve, in many cases around the corner from where the children live.

A key feature of all of Children in Crisis’ work is that we will only work with communities that are engaged and committed to what we are doing. Before establishing any CBEC we will meet with and guarantee the support of local religious and community leaders. We invite parents to visit our centres to see the lessons and opportunity for their children.

This engagement with the community is continuous. Within each CBEC is a member of staff who will spend a significant portion of their week outside of the centre, enrolling out of school children into our accelerated learning classes, following up on absent pupils and greatly strengthening the CBEC’s ties with the community.

Girls attending a Children in Crisis CBEC in Afghanistan

Advocating for education, especially for girls

Parents who did not go to school find it difficult to appreciate the benefits that an education will bring to their children. Through our community engagement we instil an appreciation for education and the benefits that it will bring to their children’s lives.

We have greater numbers of girls enrolling than boys as it is more often girls who have been unable to go to school. Some parents are reluctant for their girls to be educated, either because of fears for their safety or because of traditional attitudes towards girls’ education and a lack of faith in their ability to learn.

At the CBECs we give girls a chance to show their parents just what they are capable of. The outcome being in many cases that girls do go on to attend state school after graduating from our centres.

Homework support

Our homework (coaching) classes are run for those children who are already attending state schools but are in danger of falling behind and dropping out, often because of the lack of educational support their parents can provide. The classes are subject specific so that students can attend classes in subjects that they are particularly struggling with.

Women at a tailoring class held by Children in Crisis Clothes made by women students of Children in Crisis tailoring class

Empowering local women

As well as teaching children, our CBECs provide local mothers and women with vocational and literacy classes. The vocational training depends on local need and demand. For example in some CBECs we provide training in tailoring skills. Women are then able to take local commissions and earn money from home or save money by tailoring their own family’s clothes.

We also hold Self-Help Saving Groups for local women, which provide training in personal and family money-management and encourage access to communal saved funds for meeting unexpected costs or for financing small enterprises.

Our classes work towards increasing women’s ability to support their children’s education. But just as importantly all of our classes are intended to empower local women and give them a chance to socialise with other women, independently of their husbands, fathers and brothers.

Meet Some Students, past and present:

Uzra's story, a graduate of Children in Crisis accelerated learning classes in Afghanistan   Aaqil, a student of Children in Crisis' accelerated learning classes in Afghanistan
Uzra, recently graduated from our accelerated learning classes where she was given a chance to shine. Read more>   Aaqil, a student in Children in Crisis' community based education centres. No longer just one in five million. Read more>

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