Established in 2005, Jesuit Refugee Service projects in Herat and surrounding areas in western Afghanistan have grown steadily ever since. The focus of the Jesuit Refugee Service work has been the promotion of quality education, both in formal and informal sectors. Work includes the construction of schools, and the provision of teacher training and intensive English language courses.
One major achievement for JRS has been the steady development of Herat Technical Institute. When JRS first came to the area, this school, then referred to as Herat Technical High School, was located in a small, dilapidated building with little technical equipment. It has since moved to a new building and been re-categorised as a technical institute by the Department of Education. This means future graduates will be qualified to work in architecture, computer technology and electronics fields.
On the outskirts of Herat, women in Guzara attend the four-year English Access programme, a JRS project supported by the US embassy. Of these 60 students, 20 of whom have been selected to participate the “Each One, Teach Some” programme. In exchange for weekly teacher training instruction, programme participants teach English to 400 young children in 13 centres. In addition, JRS staff also work in in the education faculty of the University of Herat where they teach English and physics to 175 student teachers.
In Sohadat township – 34 km west of Herat city on the border towards Iran – families who have returned to Afghanistan after years of exile struggle to survive. With a lack of infrastructure, jobs and sub-par education, families often move on to the city looking for opportunities. Over the last five years, the JRS school in Sohadat has provided quality education for students of returnee families. Eleven teachers are bussed from Herat city to Sohadat on a daily basis and three reside in the local community. Thus, 14 staff teach approximately some 250 primary children.
In the future, JRS plans to improve the quality of education in Sohadat and surrounding villages by supporting the English teacher training at the college in Shakiban, 10 km from Sohadat, and providing intensive training for the school teachers of the neighbouring villages during the winter. By promoting teacher training, JRS hopes to build a pool of competent teachers from the local community so that responsibility for the management of the school can be handed over to the Department of Education.
Stan Fernandes SJ
+91 11 4310 4661; +91 11 4953 4106
JRS South Asia is one of 10 geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization sponsored by the Society of Jesus. The regional office in South Asia serves Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, Srilankan refugees in the Indian State of Tamilnadu and internally displaced people in Sri Lanka. Services include: education, skill training, economic programmes, healthcare, psychological support, disability centres, community development and emergency assistance. There more than 8,00,000 refugees presently in these four countries.
Providing hope and future to Afghanistan through online/onsite education
Herat, 7 February 2014 - Since 2005, JRS Afghanistan has been consistent in building capacity of young men and women of Afghanistan through its well-designed programmes in teacher training, communication skills in English, technical and vocational skills, and peace building.
Afghanistan: BUILDING BETTER TOMORROWS FOR AFGHAN YOUTH
Herat, 22 May 2013 – When Br. Noel Oliver came to Afghanistan in April 2005, experienced in technical and vocational training in India and Cambodia, the country was just emerging from almost three decades of conflict, and a near total state of destruction.
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