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Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Community Literacy Classes and Libraries in Kabul


The AR! program is a network of literacy classes each with its own library. Together, literacy education and access to a basic library nurture a culture of reading, and foster independent, lifelong learning for Afghan women who were previously illiterate. This page describes AR! classes taking place in rural and urban districts of Kabul province. For our classes in Takhar, please see the AWEP page, and for classes in Badakhshan, please see the WILED page. 


The classes are provided to adult women and out-of-school girls over the age of 15. Each class provides between 20 and 25 female literacy students with one year of basic literacy classes 5 to 6 days per week. Local teachers are recruited and trained to run the classes and maintain a small library. All teachers are then trained in adult education and literacy pedagogy, and have additional training to assist them to adopt librarianship practices in their teaching. The classes are typically held within the home of a local woman who receives a small rent payment in exchange for hosting the classes.

Activities and Impact

In 2019, 150 literacy students will be registered in 6 new classes. These women are beneficiaries of Operation Mercy’s women's self-help groups. These groups are comprised of some of the community’s poorest members who meet regularly to support each other to save money, share moral support and work together to realize their rights. A survey has been completed for six locations to identify interested and eligible women for enrollment.

In 2018, 251 literacy students graduated from 9 classes in 4 districts of Kabul province. For 2018 and 2019, many literacy students are beneficiaries of Operation Mercy’s women’s self-help groups.

From 2017-2018, 68 literacy students graduated from 4 classes in 3 Districts in Kabul. These women were peer support group members of Medica Afghanistan's Psycho-Social and Health Program.

From 2013 to 2015, AR! was delivered in 6 provinces (Heart, Balkh, Kapisa, Parwan, Badakhshan, Kabul)) with funding support from USAID, graduating 1,012 women and reaching an additional 18,318 boys and girls with libraries placed in local high schools after use in the literacy classes. Prior to 2013, CW4WAfghan delivered literacy classes in rural districts of Kabul, Mazar-i-sharif, Laghman, Nangarhar, Ghazniand other locations.

In addition to these, 1800 women will complete literacy classes in Takhar through the AWEP Project by 2020, and 240 women and men will complete classes in the Wakhan Corridor through the WILED project.



2018-2019: Operation Mercy    

Ongoing: CW4WAfghan members and donors    

2017-2018: Medica Afghanistan    

2011-2015: The Linda Norgrove Foundation     

2013-2015: Undertaken with Financial Support from USAID     


Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
PO Box 86016, Marda Loop, Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2T 6B7

t: 1 (403) 244-5625

Registered Charity #887718203RR0001

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