SOLA’s goal is to prepare the best and brightest Afghan students for study in the U.S. and abroad so that they may return home to become the future leaders of Afghanistan.
Enabling ambitious young women to pursue their studies is SOLA's priority. In addition to classes and training, SOLA provides housing and transportation for young women from outlying provinces.
SOLA was founded in 2008 by Ted Achilles after having run American Councils for International Education's Afghan division for 4 of his 7 years in Afghanistan.
SUPPORTERSinclude the Abdul Majid Zabuli Foundation; Hector Vila of Middlebury College; the Afghan Women’s Writing Project & Masha Hamilton; Applied Ethics, Inc. & Dr. Robert McNulty; Friends of Afghanistan (300 former Afghan Peace Corps volunteers); Orchard Park Schools Educational Outreach in Orchard Park, NY; and St. George's School in Newport, RI.All are focused on creating understanding across cultures through education.
CLASSES are taught daily in Kabul in English and math. Supplemental ongoing discussion groups and seminars help improve verbal and written communication skills. SOLA’s in-house instructors include Afghan experts as well as visiting scholars from the U.S. and Canada.An online writing course is also offered by well-known American writers.
LEADERSHIPtraining is integral to SOLA’s mission. Student members of SOLA are expected to demonstrate the talents and discipline needed of future leaders of their country. Students are challenged, accorded significant responsibilities, and held to high standards within a context reflecting vision, valuing teamwork, and heeding cultural context.
AFGHANISTAN – Why would bright young Afghans return home after receiving degrees from well-known U.S. universities? Out of loyalty to their country and commitment to family. SOLA students are profoundly motivated to improve the welfare of the Afghan people. They are determined to make a difference.
Placing returned graduates in leadership positions in Afghanistan is an essential component of SOLA’s mission. Through established connections and SOLA's reputation within Afghanistan, doors to leadership positions are open to these highly capable students.
The future of Afghanistan lies in its leaders;SOLA is working to create those leaders. They are the hope for an educated, progressive and prosperous future. They are imbued with a sense of service and commitment to their people. They will come home to prosper in every sense of the word—as Afghanistan's leaders in both the private and public sectors.
PARTICIPANTSin programs managed by Ted Achilles out of Kabul have gone on to study at Austin CC, Bard, Bates, Beloit, Bennington, Colorado, Des Moines Area CC, Elon, Holy Cross, Houston Honors, Meredith, Middlebury, Mt. Holyoke, Nagoya, Richmond, Russell Sage, Salem State, St. Lawrence, St. Mary’s, Sweet Briar, Tompkins Cortland CC, Tufts, United World Colleges, Wellesley, Williams, and Yale, among others.The roster of student awards and recognition include a number of 4-point students, Freshman of the Year, President of Freshman Class, President of International Students, and student-faculty Honor Code Committee.