portraits and testimonies
Interview: Nazim Akrami, Country Director of Afghanistan Libre
Can you tell us about your professional background?
I’m Mohammed Nazim Akrami, in the past I used to work in front lines against the Taliban regime on behalf of the Ministry of foreign affairs of the Islamic republic of Afghanistan. Afterward, in 2001 I was recruited as a logistics officer in Afghanistan Libre organization and until 2016 I had been performing logistical, project coordination, safety and security duties. And in mid-2016 I was designated as Afghanistan Libre country director in Kabul office.
What does your work at Afghanistan Libre consist of?
I’m the country director of Afghanistan Libre organization in Afghanistan. Providing better quality education for girls through Digital classrooms, board exam preparation classes, WASH program and kindergarten. Empowering women and providing them income generating activities through implementing sewing training courses as well supporting pregnant women and preventing mother and children mortality through midwife consultation program, are a part of our essential activities.
What are the values that are most important in your job?
Diligence, honesty, integrity, and delivering our services to the one in need especially female gender who have been put in a considerable inequality due to huge incommodity, insecurity and decades of war in the country, are the core of our priorities..
Can you explain the actions implemented by the association in Afghanistan to respond to the crisis of COVID-19?
Afghanistan Libre organization has the capacity to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in 2 provinces of Afghanistan, and we have already obtained the required experience by implementing a brief successful
COVID-19 response project in Paghman district of Kabul province. The project included activities such as: manufacturing face mask (by former beneficiaries of our sewing training), compiling and printing COVID-19 pictorial and textual informative booklets as well as purchasing hygiene materials and distributing the following materials in packages for the most vulnerable families in Paghman district. The provided materials have been accepted and acknowledged by the officials of the respective district.
We have designed the scheme for implementation of another COVID-19 response project in Parwan and Kapisa provinces, through activities such as: manufacturing face mask, printing informative COVID-19 booklets, distributing hygiene materials to families and broadcasting awareness through local radio channel will be conducted. We have previewed to cover 400,000 families as the beneficiaries of this project.
Testimonies from the beneficiaries of our projects
Project manager at Afghanistan Libre
Najia was one of the first students at the Malalaï school, built by Afghanistan Libre in Panjshir. She has since joined the Afghanistan Libre team as a project manager.
“When I was a child, writing made me happy! It was so vital to me that I could have written on the walls.
At that time, everyday life was difficult: the stones and dust on the ground of my school hurt our feet. Despite everything, my friends and I always went there with the same thirst for learning, hoping for a better future. But nothing changed. My mother always told me: “keep hope, every day has an end and its problems with it”. This hope has never left me: tomorrow, the black clouds will leave to make way for the sun.
I remember the day when several people came and offered to build a new school just for us girls. We all said yes! I was there when the first stones were laid. It was on that occasion that I met three people I will never forget: Ahmad Shah Massoud, who gave the land for the construction, Chekéba Hachemi, the president of Afghanistan Libre, the association that was building the school, and Nazim Akrami, now the director of this association in Afghanistan.
The school opened several months later, at the beginning of the 2002 school year. At the very top of the door it was inscribed “Malalai Girls’ School”. We went in with my classmates, everything was new! The colours of the building were so beautiful! The Afghanistan Libre team also gave us pens, notebooks, books, coloured pencils etc. We were so happy! When they gave us the notebooks it was as if they were bringing us the whole world. It was a beautiful day! The first of my best memories.
The Malalai school has become my second home. Throughout my schooling, I felt like a free bird. Day after day, we were more and more interested in studying. The school was modernized year after year: infirmary, basketball court, etc.
Some time later, Afghanistan Libre even set up literacy classes for the women of the village and I volunteered to lead these workshops. So I became a teacher during the hours when I didn’t have classes. I had 20 students, including a 70-year-old woman! I was happy to be able to share my knowledge with other Afghan women.
After the Kankor (high school certificate), I went on to study to become a teacher. When I graduated, Afghanistan Libre offered me my first job. Later on, I wanted to get involved with this association that had given me so much. To my great joy, Mr. Akrami, the director, agreed to hire me as an assistant to the project managers.
I now want to prepare my master degree in management. My greatest wish is to be like my mother, honest and hard-working, but also like Chekéba Hachemi who, through her courage, contributes to the development of women’s rights in my country. »
Beneficiary of Digital Classes
“My name is Ogay, I’m a 11th grade student in Naswan Paghman high school. I started school in 2008 in Nader Khel village of Paghman district of Kabul province and although I had many difficulties I kept going to school until grade 11th. In our village, girls were rarely allowed to go to school and we had to spend a long journey among many villages to reach it. Now our village has its own school and we comfortably study in there. I’m the student of the Digital Classes as well and I’m really pleased to be studying there. I must say that ever since I have joined the Digital Classes of Afghanistan Libre, I’m witnessing lots of improvement. I discovered the importance and value of new technology in my life, and I’m able to speak English as well as work with multiple computer softwares.
I always dreamt of having such classes within our school, because we were not allowed to join private Educational center outside our school campus. I was the top student of my class I always obtained the highest grades (100 percent) in every subject of our curriculum but I could never obtain the highest in computer subject but now I can. I wish to become an economist in the future and both Computer and English classes have helped me a lot.”
Beneficiary of the health education sessions
“Hello, my name is Hamida, I am one of the participant in Malalai Health Education Center. First of all, thank you so much for the health training for women every year in Panjshir Province.
In fact I have learned so many useful topics about health issues that are very effective in my daily life. Thanks to this, I knew what to do when one day my son was wounded above the eyebrows. I was so worried, but I started to give him first aids like I learned in HEC: I applied disinfectant, soothing cream and bandaged on his eyebrows and I did this for a few days. Now my son is alright and I’m proud that I treated him by myself.”
Beneficiary of teacher training
“My name is Deba and I’m 25 years old. I am single and live in Paghman. I studied up to grade 14. The situation was not very good for my studies. I was very worried for my safety because it is very difficult for a girl to go to school far from home. Fortunately, my family has always supported me but they have spent a lot of money renting a car to drive me to university. All our money went into transportation and I didn’t have enough money to buy the basic equipment to study.
Now I am a mathematics teacher at Naswan Paghman School and I really enjoy my job. But I have a lot of problems with graphics and statistics. The Afghanistan Libre program has been very useful and important to me because it has allowed me to solve my problems. I feel like I can explain things better to my students and be more useful to them, be a better teacher.”
Beneficiary of the Kankor preparation
Beneficiary of a solar lamp as part of the project 1 light/1 Tazkira
« My name is Zahra, I’m a student in grade 12 in Naswan Paghman high school. I first received a solar lamp in 2016 which was very useful to me. I want to take the Kankor exam so I can succeed in University and become a lawyer in the future. The lamp helps me to study at night and I think I can pass the Kankor exam. Also, the light makes me feel safer when I go and come back from school and it’s dark outside. “
Beneficiary of the midwife consultation
“My name is Maharja and I am attending the health and education sessions at Abdullah Bin Omar HEC (Health and Education Center), I am also a patient of the midwife. I went to see the midwife 4 times during my pregnancy: 3 times before the birth and once after. I have always followed her advice. The midwife’s consultations were very effective for me because this is my first child. I had a normal childbirth, so I was very happy. Thanks to the midwife, I live happily with my baby.”