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Afghan woman won WISE prize for running secret schools under Taliban

Updated On 2015-11-06 09:20:46 Exclusive

An Afghan woman, Sakeena Yacoobi, popularly known as Afghanistan's mother of education has been awarded the fifth annual WISE prize on Wednesday, for taking education to marginalised communities. She has also opened private schools, a radio station and now plans to set up a university for women as.

As per newspaper reports, she supported underground schools at a time when the Taliban banned education for girls. She founded the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) in 1995, in which schooling and healthcare was provided in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. As per the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), the charity has expanded its work, helping 12 million people, many of them girls, in rural and marginalised parts of Afghanistan. AIL's teacher training programmes focus on quality, in-depth education for Afghan teachers in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

She got a prize money of 5,00,000 USD by WISE, which recognises individuals or teams who successfully address global educational challenges that can bring real change to communities. Last year the prize was won by Ann Cotton, a British entrepreneur who set up Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education, which has helped educate more than one million girls in Africa.

Other past winners include Vicky Colbert, a Colombian, Madhav Chavan, an Indian, and Fazle Hasan Abed, from Bangladesh. She received the prize in the Gulf state of Qatar. Dr Yacoobi said the prize came at a time when people in Afghanistan were "suffering and feel hopeless".

The award was made by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chair of the Qatar Foundation, at the beginning of the annual WISE international education conference. The award was presented by Shaikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), at the Opening Plenary session of the seventh World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar.

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