Afghan women to arrive at UNO next month


By Kristin Zagurski

Thirteen Afghan women will come to Nebraska next month to receive educational training under a grant obtained by UNO’s Center for Afghanistan Studies.

The $200,000 grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will be used to fund the Afghan Women’s Teacher Training Program.

Raheem Yaseer, assistant director for the Center for Afghanistan Studies, is currently in Afghanistan working with Afghan government officials to select the 13 women for the program.

Upon their selection, the women will receive some educational training in Afghanistan before traveling to the United States.

Under the TTEP program, it is hoped the women will gain more training in their profession and the ability to serve as teacher-trainers back in Afghanistan, said Wendi Chiarbos, coordinator of the Bethsaida Excavations Project and author of the grant.

The group will arrive in the United States Oct. 5. The women will spend about three weeks of their time in Omaha participating in workshops on American culture, English and other topics. They will also visit elementary and secondary schools and attend public events. Stops in Oakland and Scottsbluff are also planned. The group will spend its last days in Washington, D.C., meeting with government officials and visiting historic sites before departing Nov. 9.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity to have Afghan women here [in the United States] for the first time in many years,” Chiarbos said.

She said after the many years of political upheaval and mistreatment the women have experienced, it is good the United States is focusing them on by its sponsoring of the TTEP program.

UNO’s Center for Afghanistan Studies joined forces with UNO’s College of Education and Women’s Studies Program to form the TTEP. The Metropolitan Omaha Education Consortium, two Afghan-American non-government agencies, the Intel Corporation and private sector and community and school partners in Scottsbluff and Oakland also joined in the cooperative effort to bring the women to Nebraska.

Upon their return to Afghanistan, the women will select 130 Afghan women for a teacher-training workshop in which they will share their newly acquired knowledge with the group of educators.


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