The Challenge – Years of conflict have prevented many Afghans from obtaining any kind of formal education. This tragic legacy has robbed Afghan youth of the opportunity to develop the fundamental skills and critical reasoning necessary to make an enduring positive contribution to their families, their communities, and their country. This education gap is then perpetuated by the fact that parents are unable to help their children learn or understand the importance of school, depriving Afghanistan of present and future generations of potential society, business, and government leaders required to champion reconstruction efforts.
The Bayat Foundation Responds – Recognizing the large-scale and enduring deleterious impact of this education gap, the Bayat Foundation – with the generous support of its donors – has prioritized a number of educational initiatives, particularly those aimed at serving the most vulnerable Afghans such as orphans and refugees. For example, the Foundation inaugurated the Faryab Orphanage and Learning Center in the fall of 2009 which serves approximately five hundred students in Maimana Province. Additionally, the Foundation spearheaded the refurbishment of Tahya Maskan Orphanage and Learning Center in the Parwan District of Kabul in late 2009, and supported the reconstruction of the Chill Dokhtaran School in Dashta Barchi, to provide a safe and modern 100 double-seat classroom and computer desks for the administrators. The Bayat Foundation – in partnership with the Ayenda Foundation – also completed the construction of the Ayenda Learning Center and Orphanage in Bamyan Province in 2009 which serves over four hundred students.
The Bayat Foundation, in recognition that a legacy of educational redevelopment has to offer hope to both the very young as well as those Afghans soon to enter the workforce, has also emphasized support of Afghanistan’s post-secondary educational redevelopment. Beginning in 2005, the Foundation has developed a legacy of support for the reconstruction of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). Initial support entailed the renovation of a women’s dormitory and has since grown to include a number of other buildings. In fact, it is with great pride that the Foundation observed the AUAF Class of 2011’s graduation proceeding being held in the Michelle Bayat Gymnasium on AUAF’s Kabul campus. Ongoing support involves the design and construction of a new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) building, with groundbreaking expected in late summer 2011.