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Mother Tongue Literacy

Serve Afghanistan has been involved in developing mother tongue literacy programmes among the Pashai communities in the east of Afghanistan and advocating for multiple language education for minority language groups in government schools, since 2006. Serve Afghanistan’s tireless work in this under-developed field was recognised by UNESCO, awarding it the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy in 2009 for its contribution to providing meaningful literacy, livelihood, public health and nutrition education for Pashai ethnic minority men and women.

Serve Afghanistan has been regularly training local government teachers to enable Pashai students to learn their mother tongue. Books and materials in the Pashai language have been developed for children and adults and currently Serve Afghanistan is also developing a first-of-its-kind online Pashai Dictionary in close cooperation with Samar Linguists. Serve Afghanistan is also training Pashai teachers in Afghan Sign Language and Braille, to ensure hearing and visually impaired children from the Pashai community can learn in culturally relevant ways.

As a direct result, in the areas Serve works in minority language, there has been a 25 % increase in the number of girls and of minority language children enrolling in Government schools. There has also been a marked increase in their attendance rates and improvement in their academic performance.

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