Saturday, 13 October 2012

Afghan Minister of Education

Click the link below to see Sarah's interview
with the Afghan Minister of Education.
You may be prompted for a password -  EDUCATION (in capitals)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

9th October

Sitting at Kabul airport awaiting flight home. Last night we had a splendid evening at the Embassy. We were very generously entertained and it was a wonderful way to end the trip. Sat out late on the balcony, having a farewell drink with  Umesh and Martin, our fantastic Global Cricket School coaches. They have been really impressed by some of the teachers who came from schools where we had built pitches and had little knowledge of cricket or how to teach it to their very eager pupils. In just a few days, driven by determination and enthusiasm, they have achieved  enough to attain coaching level 1. They will take back kit to their schools and play a part in the future of cricket.

Got up early to see Phillip Hodson off on his way to Pakistan. His enthusiasm for all we are trying to do has been remarkable and encouraging and it was great to show the outgoing President of the MCC, what can be achieved in Afghanistan.

Final moments in Kabul were spent interviewing the Minister of Education, Mr Farooq Wardak. It was a splendid interview and he was wonderful. Very passionate about his work and very positive about girls education.  Now  over 9 million children are in school, 4 million of whom are girls. More girls enrolled in schools in the tough Southern and Eastern Provinces than ever before and far more than expected this year and 512 schools have been re opened. He expects to have access to education for all children by 2014. He gave us hope and was delightful.

We asked him to fill in the equation on girls education.  
His read   Girls + education = DEVELOPMENT       
A great way to end. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Video Diary Day 1

 Here is a video diary of the first day of Sarah's trip - 2nd October.  

Afghan Connection Video Diary One from Leslie Knott on Vimeo.

Girls cricket camp in Kabul

Today was our Girls cricket camp in Kabul. Our day started in the compound car park where we unloaded 2 Land Rovers full of cricket kit, laid it out and sorted it in to piles of kit to distribute to the schools where we have built pitches and to the girls camp today.

We had to move schools for the camp location at the last moment and having arranged for the Ambassador to come and hand out the  kit, which had been collected together by Simon Batty, who works at the Embassy, and for the BBC to film in celebration of International Girls Day, the logistics were a worry. Even on our way, I had a whole lot of calls from the Embassy about a violent demonstration about the change of name for Kabul University, and wondered if it would all go ahead......but it did!

We arrived at the school after a little time lost in the back streets of Kabul. It is in a Hazara area of the city. The Hazaras have suffered terrible persecution during the years of war. They are much more progressive than the Pashtuns as regards female education and  so it was a good area in which to hold the camp.

After all the worries, it was so uplifting to see these girls out in cricket kit, receiving coaching from a former Afghan national team player...a hero! He was assisted in his coaching by 2 fantastic girls who we coached last year and who are talented cricketers. Phillip Hodson, President of the MCC, was there bowling to the children and helping with batting skills.  It is such a total pleasure, and so rewarding, to see so much joy.

The BBC arrived and Andrew North did some interviews with the girls and was soon surrounded by girls longing to be on camera and to talk with him. These girls are so friendly and determined and we all felt uplifted just through talking with them.

The Ambassador arrived amid tight security and handed out bats to the children and was interviewed by the BBC.  The girls thanked us so much and begged us to return. What a day!