Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, President and Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is President and Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), an Afghan women-led NGO she founded in 1995. The organization was established to provide teacher training to Afghan women, to support education for boys and girls, and to provide health education to women and children. Under Sakena’s leadership AIL has established itself as a groundbreaking, visionary organization which works at the grassroots and empowers women and communities to find ways to bring education and health services to rural and poor urban girls, women and other poor and disenfranchised Afghans. AIL was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women. AIL supported 80 underground home schools for 3000 girls in Afghanistan after the Taliban closed girls’ schools in the 1990s. AIL was the first organization that opened Women’s Learning Centers for Afghan women—a concept now copied by many organizations throughout Afghanistan.