Alliance for International Women’s Rights uses Skype to advance lives of Afghan women
Lisa Herb, an American attorney posted with her husband in Mongolia a few years ago, decided to help women in Central Asia learn English as a way to improve their lives. She saw Skype as a way to help women learn English as a second language.
Herb, who now lives in Upstate New York, founded Alliance for International Women’s Rights, a U.S. non-profit organisation aimed at supporting women leaders and future women leaders in developing countries with an initial focus on Central Asia. Recently, the program spread to war-torn Afghanistan.
Herb said: “They need to speak English to reach out to the international community for funding, for research, for information about what women in other countries are doing about similar problems, for example domestic violence, what legislation exists in other countries. All of that is done in English.”
Teachers speak with the students on Skype and use IM as a white board to teach words that are hard to understand and for grammar exercises.
Twice a week, Rihana – whose full name was withheld to protect her safety – works on her English with a Canadian teacher based in Korea. It’s part of the Alliance’s “Armchair English” program.
Rihana says that she wants to learn English to update the material she uses in teaching. The problem is that most of the books used in her work are horribly outdated, going back 20 to 30 years. She wants to sharpen her knowledge so she can do the best she can for her students.