Sakena Yacoobi, Founder and Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning, was among an esteemed group of recipients who were presented earlier this month with honorary degrees during the 266th Commencement Ceremony at Princeton University. Yacoobi, who was selected for her efforts to educate women and children in Afghanistan with her organization AIL, was joined on the Princeton stage by novelist Toni Morrison and architect Frank Gehry, among several others.
Also in June, the Huffington Post featured a piece by Sakena Yacoobi entitled, “Literacy and Networking for Afghan Women Through Texting.” Yacoobi writes about the lack of literacy in Afghanistan, especially among women.
The article documents the efforts of her organization to empower women through education and to improve conditions in Afghanistan as a whole.
Sakena writes that the organization could be used as model by other nations that wish to accelerate literacy education and provides a network for Afghan women to build relationships and foster more interaction and dialogue in their society. In the West, we take this sense of interconnectedness for granted, but for the women of Afghanistan, Yacoobi says, it is an exciting, new development:
“The women of Afghanistan become energized by learning and they are also excited to have a way to communicate with one another. This program could be used in other nations to help accelerate literacy education, but the impact that access to mobile phones and knowledge of how to use them has on Afghan women is far greater than just accelerating literacy. The women can build and maintain relationships with other women to whom they are not related, something which is incredibly difficult in Afghan society. When women have access to mobile phones, they build a network of friends. Friends who share information, ideas, hopes and dreams.”