10th Anniversary Campaign

Alum gives back to his community in Afghanistan

Fostering a better education in Afghanistan

Ata (Afghanistan / Class of 2017) school project Safura land inauguration in Kabul

In February 2020, Ataullah, aka Ata (Afghanistan / Class of 2017) and his local community celebrated the purchase of land for the planned Safura School in Afghanistan (pictured on the right). Ata has been working on this project since his time as a student at UWC ISAK Japan. Since his high school time, Ata has been dedicated to making a change for education in his home country.

But the fall of Kabul in 2021 changed his original plans. Nevertheless, with the curriculum all prepped and the generous help of his supporters, Ata has great hopes to transform the project to adapt to the current situation.

“After high school in Afghanistan, you become lost and confused”

Ata depicts a dire situation for the Afghan education system. He describes curriculums as lacking organization and practice-based learning. “It’s difficult to enter the national university in Afghanistan,” says Ata. “And even there, the quality of education is not that great.”

Ata (Afghanistan / Class of 2017) summer school group picture in Bamiyan, AfghanistanTo take action on this issue, Ata launched an Education Summer Camp in 2018 in Bamiyan, to great success (photo on the left). The camp was inspired by GAKKO global summer camp founded by Kenta Koga. “This experience was eye-opening,” recalls Ata. Thanks to his supporters and team, he managed to select motivated and curious students from all over Afghanistan regardless of financial difficulties. On his team, he onboarded afghan mentors studying or working abroad. The pleasant surprise for Ata was the number of girls. “I was surprised to see families agree to their daughters leaving home for four days and nights,” says Ata proudly.

Inspirations from UWC ISAK Japan education

Gender equality is an essential part of the Safura project. “Although I am from a family that respects women a lot, only at UWC ISAK Japan did I deepen my respect for people from all genders.”

Ata (Class of 2017 / Afghanistan UWC ISAK Japan student) with his diploma at graduation“I am amazed by how much I grew at UWC ISAK Japan compared to the 10-11 years I spent in afghan schools. That is when I understood the power of education. I mean, in Afghanistan, I knew that education was good and important. But I didn’t think it could significantly change one’s life and perspective on the world. “Education at UWC ISAK Japan was so empowering. After graduation, I knew I wanted to do something to improve education in Afghanistan. When I spoke to students, mentors, and stakeholders in Afghanistan, I realized UWC ISAK Japan’s impact on me. I was such a different, more mature person,” recalls Ata.

A new life in Japan

Ata, UWC ISAK Japan Class of 2017 student from Afghanistan making yakitori as a student job in APUAta has been living in Japan for seven years now. He is currently working at the heart of Tokyo, a city he loves. After graduation he studied at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (Ritsumeikan APU) in Beppu. South of Japan. Ata now hopes to become fluent in Japanese. He takes two and a half hour lessons three times a week! “I am happy I stayed in Japan because I met amazing people,” says Ata with gratitude.

The power of not giving up on people

The list of what Japan brought to Ata is long. But at the top, we can easily find his encounter with Mr. Hiroyuki Uchida, President of Hinoki, Co. Ltd. “Mr. Uchida is the best person I have met in my life,” thinks Ata. “My goal is to become able to speak Japanese with him.”

Ata, UWC ISAK Japan Class of 2017 student before entering the school at a student government meeting in AfghanistanIn addition, Hinoki, Co. Ltd. has supported Ata financially and spiritually since he launched his Education Summer Camp in 2018, notably for the purchase of the land for Safura School. This long-term and generous support helped Ata realize that “if you care about something, if you care about some people, never give up on them.” As a result, Ata never gave up and surrounded himself with people who did not give up on him. Perhaps this is why he often remembers Mr. Uchida’s motto—”money follows vision.”

We wish the best to Ata in all of his endeavors. And we are excited to welcome him back on campus for UWC ISAK Japan Summer School 2022, where he will serve as a counselor!

If you are interested in this topic, you might also enjoy reading this blog post about how Merhimo (Class of 2021 / Tajikistan) built her country’s first English Summer School.



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Imagine… if there was an ISAK lower school!

Dear Friends of UWC ISAK,

UWC ISAK is celebrating its 10th anniversary! We are proud of where we’ve come from, and we are excited about the next decade.

At this important milestone, we are wondering – in pursuit of broadening our impact, could an ISAK Lower School be considered as one of the options and would it be feasible? A school that embraces ISAK values and vision for a better future?

As we embark on this journey, if you would like to participate in possible market research and receive updates, please subscribe to our mailing list.