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At GSMUN XVII, an interview with Dr. Sakena Yacoobi

As a delegate from the Press Corps committee at a local high school's Model United Nations conference, we had a chance to personally interview Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning for women, about her 20 years' work. Her passion to help especially women within Afghanistan, nowadays wrought with inequality in education as well as untamed violence has pushed her to found 80 schools and reach over 10 million people. The social gaps, although still prominent within the nation, are slowly being addressed; her one dream is to provide education for everyone, boys, girls, men and women alike, in all of Afghanistan's provinces. Some of the questions we asked are recounted here:

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Q: How does the process for establishing schools in high risk vs. low risk areas in Afghanistan go?
A: The government operates on the public's discord. For different students we have different curriculums available - for students under 20, over 60, or whatever age. Creating this kind of curriculum of this range is not easy; we have grandmothers learning the same things as their grandchildren. Sometimes, they do the same homework!

Q: How does technology fit within your methods of education?
A: You know that Afghanistan, as I said before, is a poor country, where education is not really available even though we are trying to educate people. We have 11 lab centers in Afghanistan with computer monitors and software. For every student in the class, we train them for six months and a half or sometimes for nine months, and they learn software. Communication is also a big thing; we have satellite Internet available, which is a great tool to communicate with other people around the world. We even started a pilot program teaching people liteacy through mobile devices and was a huge success. Students would learn how to read and write when they learned how to text one another in four and a half months, rather than years. 

Q: What is your vision of the future of Afghanistan?
A: My dream is that, by the time I die, I would like to go to the 33 provinces of Afghanistan where not child will be uneducated. That is my dream. It is an ambitious dream, but that's what I'm dreaming every day. I see the future of Afghanistan as very bright. For me, a lot of people ask me why I'm so enthusiastic and so hopeful. I look at the impact of my work, reaching 11 million people, teaching them and educating them. I think with this kind of work, Afghanistan five years from now will be very different. 

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What an inspiring woman! Thanks for sharing, Justin.