Over the past 15 years Afghan refugee numbers have increased. Morning Star opened a GED-based educational institute in 2016, to meet the educational needs of the Afghan children in Southeast Asia. The institute is now in its’ 4th academic year and has over 80 students in 7th through 12th grade. We currently have 14 teaching staff and 1 administrative staff to support our academic and extra-curricular activities. We are preparing to graduate our first senior class this month, in March 2020.
The institute strives to improve the various aspects of student’s lives, as we aspire to develop leaders within the Afghan communities. One of our current 8th grade students, Akram, was having great difficulty concentrating in class and finishing his homework. When he failed in all subjects during the last term, his class teacher took significant interest to find out more about him and his life.
When Akram was 13 years old his whole family was sent to prison in Southeast Asia due to some allegations. He was separated from his parents and struggled through various traumatic experiences inside the prison. Although this was a few years ago, memories of this time continue to haunt Akram at his young age. While he is an intelligent student he struggles with depression and finds it very difficult to control his mind. This reflects in his behavior in school, and has affected his academic standing.
Two of the teachers started spending time mentoring and counseling Akram on various topics including faith, hope and forgiveness. They also started giving him extra classes and encouraged him to study hard and persevere through his challenges. Although Akram is still in the process of healing, his teachers have seen a great transformation beginning to take place in his life. In the latest term exams Akram passed all his classes, which has been a great encouragement for him and his teachers.
Abdul Kalam, former President of India once said: “Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual.” Through this institute, we have the opportunity to educate young leaders for a brighter future. We do not take this lightly. Our teachers are not just investing in these students’ education, but their lives as well.