Afghan woman Dr. Sakina Yaqoobi wins $1 million Opus prize
By Ghanizada - Sun Nov 17 2013, 9:21 pm
Dr. Sakina Yaqoobi is a trained public health specialist and the president of Afghan Institute of Learnign (AIL), which is an Afghan women-led non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides teacher training, schooling and health education to women and children.
The winners of the Opus Prize, a humanitarian award for faith-based entrepreneurship, is awarded to activists who are having entrepreneurial spirit and abiding commitment to address global issues such as poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease and injustice.
“When I was growing up in Afghanistan, it was a beautiful country. Life was so simple. People were very friendly; people trusted each other. Today, it is so different. For forty years the country has been devastated, the children and women have been abused, the system of education has been completely demolished, the people are nervous, and they are traumatized,” Dr. Yaqoobi quoted in a statement by George W. Bush Institute said.
The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) was launched by Dr. Sakina Yaqoobi in 1996, and she invested $20,000 from her own money to open schools and training community-level teachers, after Dr. Yaqoobi was stirred by abuse, poverty and hopelessness in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan.
Employing 425 Afghans, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) has built and supported 342 schools and learning centers. It has trained 21,364 teachers, educated 295,000 students, and treated over 1.6 million health patients.
“For Afghanistan, it will take time. AIL will continue to transform life after life,” Dr. Yaqoobi said, while insisting on basic health and education as key tools to personal and community transformation.