Initiative Students Return to Campus After Completing Summer Internships in Afghanistan

JALALABAD, KABUL AND MAZAR-E-SHARIF, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 27, 2018 - members of The Initiative’s rising sophomore, junior and senior classes returned to campus this month after completing internships with participating employment partners in this year’s Summer Internship in Afghanistan program.

Our students shared their experiences before beginning classes last month. Here are a few examples of the work they did in the education, business consulting, and telecommunications. We are so proud of their accomplishments this summer carrying out The Initiative’s mission of empowerment and service!

Sapida Barmaki (Montclair State University 2020) worked as a Project Evaluation and Monitoring intern for Sahar Education International. Sahar approaches girls’ education from multiple levels because they know that it takes a holistic approach to create real change. They work with partners in the US and on the ground in Afghanistan to build and supply schools, start educational and vocational training programs, and early marriage prevention programs. These projects bolster local economies and strengthen communities, as well as fortify bonds between Afghanistan and the West. Sapida’s responsibilities at Sahar Education International this summer included data entry, translation, field work visits and documentation of student journeys.

Balqees Sayed (Russell Sage College 2021) worked as a Research Intern at QARA Consulting, LLC. Established in 2010, QARA Consulting, LLC. is an Afghanistan-based firm serving private and public sector organizations offering the assessments, advice, implementation support, strategy and training services that drive critical decision-making, achieve mandate milestones, and solve pressing problems. QARA’s mission is to enable our clients to make informed decisions, create impactful initiatives, elevate their market performance and reach their audiences and goals optimally. We are a firm that attracts, invests in, engages and retains exceptional and relevant talent. Balqees’s responsibilities at CARA Consulting, LLC this summer included data collection and analysis, translation, and coding.

Hajar Hussaini (Russell Sage College 2019) also worked as a Research Intern at QARA Consulting, LLC. Among Hajar's activities at QARA Consulting was the translation of qualitative research questionnaires from Farsi to English. Additionally, she helped in some human resources work interviewing potential candidates for research internship positions and conducted informative interviews in preparation for a conference that took place at Kabul University.

Nabila Haidari (Meredith College 2021) worked in the accounting division of Roshan Telecommunications. Roshan, which means "light" or "hope" in Persian, is one of Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications providers. Today, Roshan’s GSM network reaches 240 cities and towns across all of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. The network covers over 60% of the population, including the most remote rural areas. Roshan employs over 1,100 people, of whom 20% are women. Indirectly, the company has added over 30,000 jobs to the Afghan economy through its top-up stations, retail stores and public call offices. Nabila was responsible for accounts payable reconciliation and data entry.

Shahrzad Koofi Ahmadi (Montclair State University 2022) worked as Assistant Program Manager at The Asia Foundation’s project at The American University of Afghanistan. The American University of Afghanistan is a nationally accredited Afghan university chartered under the Afghan Constitution and Ministry of Higher Education of the Afghan government. It is an American style university with an American teaching curriculum whose mission is dedicated to providing world class higher education that prepares leaders to meet the needs of Afghanistan and the region. Shahrzad’s responsibilities included the creation and maintenance of an archiving system project documentation.

Congratulations, Balqees, Hajar, Nabila and Shahrzad on work well done!

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