Joyce Meng's Blog

Our Featured Partner of the Week: Kabultec

Our Chief Legal Officer Alex Feldman had a chance to chat with Max Gross – Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer of [url=http://www.givology.org/~kabultec/]Kabultec[/url]. Check out the highlights below and click here to learn more about the [url=http://www.givology.org/~kabultec/]programs Kabultec runs[/url]!

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[b]What inspires you to work for [url=http://www.givology.org/~kabultec/]Kabultec[/url]?[/b]
A lot of things inspire me about Kabultec. Most importantly, I believe in our mission to educate husbands and wives in Afghanistan. Additionally, my wife Nasrine is the organization’s President. So, some might say that it’s my job as a husband to support my wife in her philanthropic mission, but my involvement runs deeper than that. Nasrine and I both believe in the work we’re doing. She is our person-in-the-field actually doing the teaching in camps and villages. What I do allows her to keep doing what she’s doing. So the combination of the mission and my love of Nasrine inspires me to work for Kabultec.
[b]What makes Kabultec unique? [/b]
Kabultec uses the social structure already in place to educate illiterate couples in Afghanistan. There are a number of programs that seek to educate, but we’re unique in that we’ve adopted a couples-based approach to classroom attendance. In Afghanistan, women traditionally require the permission and presence of their husband to be permitted outside the home and to attend classes. Kabultec uses this dynamic to educate the husbands as well. Couples are educated as a unit, with each unit given one set of books by which to study from. Both members of the couple are therefore forced to work and learn together, not only accomplishing the goal of education but also forcing a bit more gender integration than is customary.
[b]How does Kabultec measure impact?[/b]
Our educational programs are designed to bring illiterate persons up to a fourth grade reading level. We host anywhere from 2-4 classes at a time, with 10 couples attending. We’ve educated over 1000 persons to date.
Like any educational program, Kabultec administers tests as a way of determining if the material has been grasped by the students. But metrics to determine real impact are difficult to design. People get turned onto learning – real learning – when they know how to read and write. Literacy stirs a thirst for other knowledge in the newly educated.
Graduates of the program experience the benefits in ways that are immeasurable. Literacy means an individual can; read signs and commute to work easier, properly take medications per the instructions, stay informed via newspapers, as well as a number of other subtle but important ways the ability to read positively impacts a life. Not to mention that these literate persons are more likely to teach their own children, and so forth.
[b]How does Kabultec reach in the community? When the need is so great, how do you prioritize who to help?[/b]
In addition to above, a unique aspect to Kabultec is the way we determine the viability of classes in a village or city. Before classes can begin, Nasrine makes sure to discuss with local leaders what it is we do. Nasrine reaches out to a local Mula (a person generally with an understanding if the classes would be met with opposition), and the local Mukdar (almost an informal Mayor). Only with the blessings of both these persons does Kabultec continue.
Classes are always filled. We have limited resources and believe in small classroom instruction. With demand impossibly high, we rely on the suggestions of the local Mula and Mukdar to help select candidates.
Some have suggested renting space in a larger hall, and instructing upwards of 500 people at once, and charging nominal amounts for the classes. As appealing as this sounds our mission focuses on free, direct, targeted impact. So, we’re going to keep our model of smaller classes for now.
[b]What are your focus priorities for 2013?[/b]
2012 built on prior years successes in teaching literacy. In 2013, we’d like to find a way to add another class, so our impact can be greater.
Kabultec has non-educational functions too. Specifically, we act as a shuttle service of donations from the US to a number of orphanages in our working region. In the past year, we amassed two thousand pounds of clothing and other donations. To curtail shipping costs, we rely on US Military cargo planes to transport the goods. With the US commitment to withdraw all troops from the country, 2013 presents an unexpected concern. We’d like to continue this practice of transporting donations. So with the literacy classes running smoothly, this years efforts will largely be concentrated on figuring out a solution to the transportation problem at hand.
[b]About Max:[/b] [i]Max Gross is a founder of Kabultec and currently serves as the organization's Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.[/i]

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