Darakht-e Danesh means “knowledge tree” in Dari, one of the official languages of Afghanistan. This phrase is also the name of an online library that is being provided with support from PWS&D to help ensure Afghan refugees can continue their education.
Afghans Displaced from their Homes
Pakistan is the third largest refugee host country in the world and currently accommodates 1.44 million registered Afghans forced to flee their homes due to war, internal conflict, insecurity and persecution. An estimated additional one million unregistered Afghan nationals also reside in the country. The poorest refugees lack or have very limited access to necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, health care and education.
Planting a Tree of Knowledge
One of the desires expressed by Afghan refugees is for their children to be able to access schooling. PWS&D is responding to this need with a new project supporting the education of Afghan children displaced in Peshawar, Pakistan. In December 2022, PWS&D began implementing this project together with Community World Service Asia (CWSA) and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan).
The intervention involves a digital learning facility where Afghan refugee children between the ages of 7-18 years can access virtual education in place of traditional schools, which are not accessible to them. A joint effort, CW4WAfghan is providing the technological platform, educational materials, and technical advice on curriculum development and project design, while PWS&D is funding the set-up of the Digital Learning Center, including equipment, space rental, school supplies, personnel and administration costs. CWSA, PWS&D’s long-time partner in Pakistan, is implementing the project.
English language classes, basic digital literacy classes, high school courses and tutoring sessions aim to help a total of 520 students. An estimated 3,640 individuals (students and family members) are also expected to benefit from the Darakht-e Danesh Library, which provides free and open educational resources on such topics as math, language, business and the sciences.
The Digital Learning Center is one way of supporting those who have already lost so much. It is planting the seeds for current and future success, for children who would otherwise be completely out of school.
This digital learning project is being undertaken to support Afghan refugees while PWS&D is still unable provide assistance in Afghanistan due to Canadian legal barriers. You can advocate for the needs of people in Afghanistan by writing a letter to your MP. Learn more here.