Building a Better Future for Afghanistan - Professor Sakena Yacoobi

By USA News Group (Originally in English) 2008.12.20

“There is a way from heart to heart” is an Afghan proverb; thus, it is with love in her heart that Professor Sakena Yacoobi touches the hearts of women and children in Afghanistan. She offers them an education, medical services, and means to better and healthier lives. These capacity-building opportunities are provided through the Afghan Institute of Learning, which she founded as a realization of a childhood dream to uplift her co-citizens from suffering.

Professor Yacoobi grew up in Afghanistan but moved to the United States in the 1970s, where she completed a master’s degree in public health and served as a professor at D’Etre University in Michigan. In 1990 she returned to Afghanistan. While working in Afghan refugee camps across the border in Pakistan, she again witnessed the suffering and miserable lives of the women and children. The Afghan Institute of Learning, established in 1995, provides educational and health services to over 350,000 women and children every year via educational learning centers, schools and clinics, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. To date, it has trained over 10,000 teachers to further its capacity-building objective and set up four medical clinics to ensure the wellbeing of the Afghan people. The institute also raises awareness about issues such as human rights, health, peace-building and the environment. It has come to be respected as a model women’s organization in Afghanistan and Professor Yacoobi’s work has been internationally recognized.

For her noble service to humanity, Professor Yacoobi was honored with the Shining World Compassion Award from Supreme Master Ching Hai on December 20, Golden Year 5 (2008). She was also presented with a gift of US$10,000 to support her endeavors and the undertakings of the Afghan Institute of Learning. In appreciation of the Award and Master’s generosity, the professor said: “The award means so much to the people of Afghanistan, to the women of Afghanistan, to the children of Afghanistan, and specifically for me, because this is the recognition of the work that the courageous women of Afghanistan are doing.” She also expressed her special thanks for the important information on global warming.

We are grateful that Professor Yacoobi has followed her heart in fulfilling the mission that God has given her, to reach out to the needy people in her country and around the world. May Heaven continue to bless her and all her noble endeavors with great success.