The Vocational Training Centre for Women
Towards the end of 2007 SAWA's success in raising funds allowed us to consider the possibility of establishing a permanent presence in Kabul through a centre dedicated to the support of war widows and illiterate women. As a result the Vocational Training Centre for Women was born.
The centre was scheduled to open its doors in February 2008. Heavy snowfall and temperatures reaching -24°C blocked all roads in Kabul city; there was almost no chance for women to come to the Centre. This caused a delay of almost one month.
The Centre opened in March 2008 with three teachers and 90 students. It is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Each of the teachers teaches two shifts. The first shift starts at 9:00 and ends at 11:30, the second shift starts at 2:00 and ends at 4:30. Most of the students are housewives, and this schedule allows them to come to classes.
The subjects taught in the Centre are: Dari (Farsi), Mathematics, Basic Information on Child Care, and General Knowledge. The literacy program is of two years, comprised of four semesters of six months each. An exam is conducted at the end of each semester which students have to pass to proceed to the next semester. After finishing the 4th semester the students appear for the final examination and if they pass that exam they get the Merit Certificate of Literacy.
The Centre offers handicraft training for women who successfully completed the literacy course. The first handicraft class began in 2009 with women from the 2008 literacy classes. The women produce traditional Afghan dresses for festive occasions and support their families through their own work.
The Centre is administered by the Organization for Promoting Afghan Women's Capabilities (OPAWC), an aid organization registered in Afghanistan.