Dr. Sakena Yacoobi: A Remarkable Afghan Change Agent

On October 29, the MIIS Community met Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, a self-described ‘social entrepreneur’ from Afghanistan. Immersed in The WIP nearly every day, it is rare to meet a woman who can and does change the course of what I feel a certain future will look like. Yesterday reminded me that each of us has the opportunity to create social change and make the future a better place - one day, one article, or one student at a time. Dr. Sakena Yacoobi lights the way.

Dr. Sakena Yakoobi speaks with Najia Lodin, MIIS student from Afghanistan.  October 29, 2014. Photograph courtesy of the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Dr. Sakena Yakoobi speaks with Najia Lodin, MIIS student from Afghanistan. October 29, 2014. Photograph courtesy of the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Dr. Yacoobi’s talk and visit was hosted by the Institute’s new Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL). The bulk of Dr. Yacoobi’s talk was about the obstacles and achievements her organization, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), has faced in its 20-year history of opening educational learning centers in Afghanistan.  Yet, throughout her speech, were shots of inspiration, stories that terrify, and the beauty of a woman with a vision and the courage to see it through.

It is cliché to say I was humbled by her talk, but I must. I was truly humbled by her talk. When this woman of short stature yet overwhelmingly powerful voice and force stands up and invites you to not give up on Afghanistan, you don’t. When this woman, running on faith, puts her life on the line over and over to transform Afghanistan through education speaks, you listen. When you feel you are in the presence of a saint, and she invites you to bring your skills and talents and share them with the people of Afghanistan, all you ask is “how?”

One way is to donate to AIL  and support Dr. Sakena Yacoobi and the teachers and students who are the future of Afghanistan and our world.  The Skoll Foundation is currently offering matching funds to the Afghan Institute of Learning.  AIL’s goal for this challenge is to raise $120,000, enough to educate 1,846 students. A  donation of $65 covers the cost to educate one student for one year. The Center for Social Impact Learning has set up a Crowdrise Team. I’ve made my donation. Please join me and together we will help the Afghan Institute of Learning continue to create the tomorrow we all know is possible.

Onward!

Kate Daniels is the founder and executive editor of The WIP.

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