The Afghan-Canadian Community Centre is the only school in the Kandahar area offering vocational training to women.
Six online courses are offered through the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), including management, human resources, and accounting. The centre offers other courses in computing, health care, and English as a second language.
A dozen Afghan women, who were the first to enroll in these courses in 2007, have now earned business certificates from SAIT. Many of them have found jobs with international organizations, including the United Nations.
The director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre, Ehsanullah Ehsan, travelled to Calgary on their behalf to collect their graduation certificates.
"We should speak out and do what is required to ensure that men, women, boys, and girls have free and open access to education," he said. "This should be done not only out of personal interest, but for the shared interests of humanity as a whole."
A second group of 20 Afghan students is currently going though SAIT's online business management program.
Afghanistan's adult literacy rate is among the lowest in the world. Only 12.6 per cent of Afghan women can read.
The Afghan-Canadian Community Centre is funded by the Afghan School Project, a Canada-based charity. It is also supported by the SAIT and various financial donors.
With only 100 students enrolled in the community centre's courses in 2007, the number has grown to over 700.