Reaching Out to the New Wave of Afghan Immigrants

For over eleven years, Pax Populi has been working with educational centers in major Afghan cities to provide personal one-on-one online English language tutoring with volunteer teachers and tutors from around the world. In mid-August 2021, the government of Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, a group known for its long history of violent extremism and disregard for human rights and women’s rights. While we can say that Afghanistan is no longer at war, we cannot say that the country is at peace. During the brief time since the Taliban took control of the country on August 15, 2021, Afghan women have experienced a rapid erosion of their rights and access to education. Until we at Pax Populi are confident that we can remain true to our commitment to human rights without putting our Afghan partners and students at risk, we have come to the sad decision to put our educational services in Afghanistan on hold. We are not, however, giving up on Afghanistan or its people. On the contrary, our commitment has only grown stronger.

Responding to the massive exodus of Afghans seeking to escape from the violence and oppression under Taliban rule, we at Pax Populi are acting on our mission of people-to-people peacebuilding by introducing the new program, English for New Afghans Immigrants. We are drawing on over a decade of experience working in Afghanistan to create a new Pax Populi Academy designed to respond to the educational needs of the many new Afghan immigrants who have come to the United States since September 2021. Our goal is to not simply help these immigrants to learn a new language; we want to help them to better navigate a new culture with its different customs and methods for responding to the practical needs of day-to-day life. Our aim is to reduce the stress Afghan families may feel in leaving behind the familiar ways of life in their homeland and to help them lay the foundation for a successful new beginning in the United States.

Background on Pax Populi Academy

The roots of Pax Populi Academy go back to the launching of the Pax Populi Tutoring Program in 2010. The program began when we arranged for a group of Bentley University students to provide one-on-one English language tutoring via Skype to students at a small school for girls in Kabul. By 2014, when we had a more developed curriculum and methods for delivering it, the initiative was renamed, “Pax Populi Academy” (PPA). Over time, the program grew as we added new university partners in the United States and individual tutors from over a dozen countries. In Afghanistan, our principal partners were educational centers in Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Herat, although we also worked in Bamiyan, Jalalabad, and Kunduz.

Our essential methodology begins with a screening process to determine tutor and student eligibility. This is followed by an orientation program, the development of a schedule adapted to the availability of both the tutors and students. If the instructors and students are in different time zones, special care must be made to ensure that teachers and students are online at the same time to permit direct communications via videoconferencing.

The guiding vision of our Academy is a world where no one is denied a quality education due to war or systemic violence. In the 21st century, there are unprecedented opportunities to deliver educational services even in conflict zones and social distress. Every day our work is a testimony to the capacity of dedicated people to provide valuable educational experiences to those in need by drawing on modern technologies empower by human kindness. In the process, both instructors and students are enriched by the exchange.

To serve as a tutor, one must be fluent in English and committed to working for peace through education in a way that is caring and respectful of the Afghan student’s culture and religion, and sensitive to the trauma experienced by so many Afghans. If tutoring sessions are conducted online, tutors must use their own computer with a webcam, and a high-speed internet connection.

If you are interested in joining our program as a tutor, student, or administrator,  or if you are interested in Peace through Education or simply want more information on our work please contact us at: info@appliedethics.org, use our contact page, or contact us through our Pax Populi Facebook Page. Please consider making a recurring donation of $25/month to help us to keep our school running. To donate, please click here.

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