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The Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies graduating class of 2012.

SAIT education changes lives in Afghanistan

Calgary, AB — The importance of International Women's Day takes on special significance Saturday for more than 300 women and girls in Kandahar, Afghanistan as they become graduates. The group is graduating from the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS) — a 1,700 person education institute in Afghanistan.

Thirteen students — dressed in SAIT Polytechnic caps and gowns — will collect SAIT certificates of achievement in Business Management. The certificates will be handed over to the graduates by Kandahar Governor Doctor Tooryalai Wesa.

The two young women SAIT showcased in 2013, Maryam and Hena, have both gone onto successful careers thanks to their certificate. Maryam is working at KIMS as a social media trainer and Hena is working at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

"My SAIT certificate secured me with a highly paid job — a senior position at an international humanitarian organization," says Hena, whose last name has been withheld for security reasons. "I am more respected and honoured in my family and among my friends than before."

More than 40 students in Afghanistan are currently enrolled in SAIT online courses that include business communications, human resources management and leadership. SAIT has partnered with the Afghan-Canadian Community Center (ACCC) and KIMS since 2007.

"SAIT is proud to play a significant role in the lives of these students in Afghanistan, by providing them an opportunity to get an education," says Lee Haldeman, interim Vice President Academic at SAIT Polytechnic. "E-learning technology allows our students in Afghanistan to log into SAIT courses online, just as our Canadian students do."

More than 3,000 students have graduated since ACCC/KIMS opened. On average, employed graduates provide financial support for six family members. The centre is a model for professional education in Afghanistan and other regions around the world recovering from war, illness or poverty.

"I am extremely grateful to the nations and governments of the United States of America and Canada for enabling me to provide modern education to thousands of women for a better life in this very difficult part of the globe," says Ehsanullah Ehsan, president of the Afghan Learning Development Organization — parent organization of KIMS and the ACCC.

Portions of ACCC/KIMS and the graduation ceremonies are supported by the Canadian International Learning Foundation, US Embassy in Kabul, the United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the Afghan Wireless Communication Company, the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, and the Linda Norgrove Foundation.

About SAIT Polytechnic

SAIT Polytechnic is one of Canada's most exciting destinations for post-secondary education, offering more than 100 career programs and over 1,000 part-time courses (including online and distance) that position people for success in technology, trades and business. A leader in innovation, SAIT also collaborates with industry on applied research and delivers corporate training worldwide. SAIT has been recognized as being one of Alberta's Top Employers, the Top Research College in Canada and the Best Alberta Workplace for Training and Development.

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