Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is the founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, the Professor Sakena Yacoobi Private Hospital in Herat, and the Professor Sakena Yacoobi Private High Schools in Kabul and Herat, Afghanistan.
Dr. Yacoobi is the President and Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), an Afghan women-led NGO she founded in 1995. The organization was established to provide teacher training to Afghan women, to support education for boys and girls, and to provide health education to women and children. Under Sakena’s leadership AIL has established itself as a groundbreaking, visionary organization which works at the grassroots level and empowers women and communities to find ways to bring education and health services to rural and poor urban girls, women and other poor and disenfranchised Afghans. AIL was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women. AIL supported 80 underground home schools for 3,000 girls in Afghanistan after the Taliban closed girls’ schools in the 1990s. AIL was the first organization that opened Learning Centers for Afghan women—a concept now copied by many organizations throughout Afghanistan. Using their grassroots strategies and holistic approach, AIL now serves hundreds of thousands of women and children each year through its training programs, Learning Centers, schools and clinics in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since 1996, millions of Afghans have benefited from AIL’s education and health programs.