USAID Promote is funding the design and construction of a 200-bed women’s dormitory at the American University of Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s CEO, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, joined about U.S. and university officials for a ceremonial groundbreaking on Oct. 28. With him were Ambassador Michael Raynor, assistant chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, USAID’s Mission Director, Herbie Smith, and Deputy Mission Director, Tamra Halmrast-Sanchez.The $3.9 million dorm will be a three-story, 3,000 square-meter building for 200 female students with dormitory rooms, study areas, a lounge, a cafeteria and a library.
"The U.S. government and American people have helped Afghans tremendously, in all fields, but the most important field they have helped us in is education and this women’s dormitory is one of the best gifts they have given us," said Dr. Abdullah. "Thanks to the U.S. government and its people."
The event began with welcoming remarks from AUAF student Sultana Rahimi. She won a full scholarship through the US Embassy and is studying Law. Miss Rahimi, 21, will graduate in 2019 and would like to become a human rights lawyer, advocating for women in rural villages. She is from Balkh Province.
Ambassador Raynor spoke of USAID’s partnership with AUAF and USAID’s support of the university in promoting free expression, tolerance, mutual respect and female empowerment in Afghanistan.
"This institution will be a legacy demonstrating the cooperation between the Afghan and American people," said Ambassador Raynor. "We are breaking ground not just for a new building, but for hope and opportunity, for adventure and personal enrichment, and for the advancement of Afghan women."
The United States began building dormitories in Afghanistan in the1970s. The U.S. Embassy has been working with the Ministry of Higher Education on building women’s dormitories at six university campuses, including Balkh, Bamyan, Faryab, Herat, Jawzjan and Parwan provinces.