Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Resource Center to Provide Training, Education for Afghan Women

By Air Force Capt. Dustin Hart
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 11, 2009 - The provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province joined provincial leadership March 7 for a groundbreaking to mark the beginning of construction on a women's resource center in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. "We requested the PRT's assistance on this project, and now it has been funded," Gov. Gul Agha Sherzai said at the ceremony. "This is going to be a great place for all the women of Nangarhar."

The facility, slated for completion in about seven months, will include a two-story, 12-room building, and a surrounding privacy wall that will allow the women to meet and exchange ideas in a secure, private location. The center also will offer educational and technical training classes.

"I can't express the happiness this project will bring the women of Nangarhar," Sheela Barburi, director of women's affairs for the province, said. "The resource center will allow women to get training and make different products they can sell to make money and support their families."

The province doesn't have a facility that offers these types of services, which made supporting the project a priority for the PRT, Air Force 2nd Lt. Steven Klenke, Nangarhar PRT engineer, said.

"This facility will be exclusively used to meet the needs of the women in Nangarhar," said Klenke, who is deployed from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. "It's a very exciting project to be a part of and an honor to work with the Department of Women's Affairs to create the center."

Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Cabosky, Nangarhar PRT commander from Newton Falls, Ohio, said the center will be a valuable addition for the province.

"The United States strongly supports equal rights for all women," Cabosky said. "While there is work to be done here in Afghanistan, this facility is definitely a step in the right direction."

The Nangarhar PRT is responsible for assisting the provincial, district and local governments in the province with their governance, security and reconstruction efforts. The team is working on more than 55 projects worth about $74.1 million.

(Air Force Capt. Dustin Hart serves with the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team.)

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