New Computer lab in Khogyani

Sep 3, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   Uncategorized  //  4 Comments

About five months ago, my col­league, Noor and I set up a com­puter and Eng­lish lan­guage train­ing lab in Kaga, Khogyani. Kaga is about 35 kilo­me­ters south west of Jalal­abad city. It has a small main bazaar which is basi­cally all on a one-hundred-meter long street. There are many small and sparsely located vil­lages all around the main bazaar. It’s a beau­ti­ful place with a lot of snow in win­ter and cool weather in sum­mer.
We went there back in April and set up a lab with five lap­tops, a printer and some Eng­lish lan­guage mate­ri­als. We also set up a small solar power sys­tem for the com­puter lab which included four solar pan­els, four car bat­ter­ies, charge con­trollers and power invert­ers. When we were set­ting up this com­puter lab we trained a poten­tial stu­dent, Hadi on the solar power and com­puter setup struc­ture so that he can trou­bleshoot any poten­tial prob­lems by him­self. Last week, I went to Kaga to check on the com­puter lab and every­thing and I was very impressed by how sus­tain­able and well func­tion­ing the learn­ing cen­ter had been for the past five months.
Approx­i­mately, three hun­dred stu­dents are learn­ing com­puter skills and Eng­lish lan­guage in this small cen­ter. It’s got 8 computer/ Eng­lish lan­guage train­ers, a man­ager and a guard/cleaner. One of the stu­dents, Hadi, who got a lit­tle train­ing when we were set­ting up the lab, vol­un­teers to help with tech­ni­cal and IT prob­lems. It’s dif­fi­cult to bring some­one from Jalal­abad every time they need tech­ni­cal sup­port.
Not all of these stu­dents are tak­ing com­puter classes right from the begin­ning. For com­puter pro­grams train­ing some knowl­edge of the Eng­lish lan­guage is required. Begin­ner stu­dents have to take two months of Eng­lish lan­guage train­ing before they can be accepted in com­puter course.However, some stu­dents join the train­ing cen­ter with a lit­tle prior knowl­edge of the com­puter lan­guage. The train­ers will place them both in com­puter and in Eng­lish lan­guage classes right from the begin­ning. In each of their Eng­lish classes there are about 30 stu­dents and they all sit in car­pet class­rooms.
As many vil­lages are sparsely located in Kaga, some stu­dents walk 30 kilo­me­ters every­day to attend their classes in this cen­ter. Shamshad is a nine-year-old begin­ner stu­dent who walks a long way together with his older brother and cousins to come here. He says, “I want to learn com­puter skills and Eng­lish lan­guage and work in an inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tion some day.” Com­ing to the cen­ter for his Eng­lish class is his favorite to do of every day. “I like my teach­ers”, he says.

Under Taliban’s regime and before that, a family’s strength and pros­per­ity here was judged by the num­ber of sons one had. Peo­ple fought over land and water a lot more often. They would train their sons to use a gun at a very young age for poten­tial fam­ily fights/enmities. Those who did not have a son would train their daugh­ters to use guns but that would be use­ful indoors only as women are not allowed to go out many peo­ple had very strict and tra­di­tional views about women’s rights here. They thought that women should not go out. If they. If they had to do so, they would have to wear ‘Islamic dress’ so that they are com­pletely cov­ered. This tra­di­tion is chang­ing now and more and more fam­i­lies send their daugh­ter to school. The per­son who runs this cen­ter is a for­mer Afghan MP and he plans to start sim­i­lar edu­ca­tional pro­grams for women at this cen­ter If a fam­ily had no son they would be con­sid­ered weak. This sex­ual prej­u­dice seems to be chang­ing rapidly. It’s no longer about the quan­tity of your chil­dren; it’s about the qual­ity – get­ting good edu­ca­tion and a decent job.
It’s a Taliban-infested area and a lot of peo­ple here used to sup­port Tal­iban. Now Tal­iban is los­ing their sup­port as peo­ple see it as a dead-end busi­ness. Shamshad and hun­dreds of other chil­dren like him are busy learn­ing at this learn­ing cen­ter as an after/before school activ­ity. They come here with a lot of enthu­si­asm. They seem to be get­ting what they want and there is a lot of hope that they will make it there and they will have a bright future.

  • Khang­ho­bar

    sal­la­m­ona afghna na noo warono sal­lam kom

    • Hameed

      Man­ana da tab­siri na mo. Khoshala osee.

  • far­man ullah

    hello to all my broth­ers.….…… hope ur cen­ter is going well.….…
    who is shamshad i think shamshad is the san of man­ager.
    by my mind i think all khogyani boys like com­puter and eng­lish.….… and also the all boys walk­ing 20 or 30 km to come this center.……not only shamshad
    i know buz i live there .…

  • far­man ullah

    if you will see this then send me reply ok bye