Sara, 16, from the village of Mirza Abdul Qader near Kabul, is a recent graduate of APEP's Accelerated Learning courses. She, along with other girls and young women, make up 56% of the program's graduates. According to Sara, "Under the Taliban we were unable to obtain an education. Now we are able to enroll in school and read simple things like street signs and write as well."
Bitter feelings about going against law and the Qur’an aside, Shah Jan and her husband used to grow poppy so they could send to school their seven children. This winter, however, the farmer’s family will not be planting poppy. For several months now, Shah Jan has been working at developing a modest yet consistent and honest alternative; income earned from a commercial plug seedling nursery in Batikot district of Nangarhar province.
Supported by the USAID-funded Alternative Livelihoods Program for the Eastern Region (ALP/E), Hadyatullah-Samsour Bam Ltd., a privately-owned Afghan trading company, and a group of progressive farmers from Kunar, Laghman and Nangarhar provinces supplied a variety of fruit and vegetables to test the demanding market in the United Arab Emirates. Under the brand name “Pride of the Eastern Region,” the trial shipment from Afghanistan was sold through a supermarket chain and 16 hotels in Dubai and generated a first commercial order for 60 tons of produce.
From a hill overlooking Khost city, democracy is spreading across the region. Peace Message Radio, established with support from USAID’s Democracy and Governance office, is an independent radio station that attracts over 80% of radio listeners in the province of Khost. In the two years since its founding, it has given a voice to women, reached out to the local madrassas, provided comprehensive coverage of the parliamentary elections, and has granted opportunities for high school and college students to learn about journalism hands-on.
Last updated: February 26, 2015