Student Voice
Oruj - Schools in Afghanistan / Learning Partners
Student Voice

Omid was the name of the project from 2005-06 and the program name was changed to Oruj. In partnership with The Advocacy Project, The Learning Partners Peace Education Exchange is currently in the pilot phase. During the 2005-2006 school year, the program will develop a peace education exchange that will join American classrooms with learning partner schools in developing countries. This pilot is the test phase for a unique, multi-media „pen-pal exchange designed to promote cultural awareness, self-reflection, and communication skills, and lay the groundwork for students to grow into responsible, open-minded citizens. The pilot has joined a fourth-grade American classroom at Squannacook Elementary School in Massachusetts, and a fourth-grade Afghan girls classroom at the Noor Khel School along with a boys' classroom in a nearby school. Press release,

After the completion of this pilot in June 2006, the model will be expanded to include 6 US schools and 6 Omid-supported schools in Afghanistan for the 2006-2007 year. The following year, the program will be formalized into a rich exchange program that can be implemented in any American school and a variety of partner schools in developing countries, while supporting the curricula of both.


The OLC was founded in 2003 by Sadiqa Basiri, who spent many years in Pakistan as a refugee during the Taliban years. On her return, Ms Basiri was determined that others should have the chance to receive an education, and put up her own money to pay for the education of 30 girls from her home village of Godah. A private donor read about her work on the AP website, and provided a generous grant to support the school.

After just two years, Omid is supporting 1,200 girl students in four schools. By all the conventional indicators exam results, drop-out rates etc the project has been a great success, and is now providing a good education for girls who would not otherwise be in school. Perhaps most important, the program has brought education to the Godah valley, which contains 18 villages and has long been one of the more remote areas of Afghanistan. Until the Godah school, there was not a single school in the valley.