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posted Apr 26, 2009, 6:41 AM by   [ updated Mar 19, 2011, 12:46 PM by Unknown user ]

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October 1, 2010: Celebrating SOLA's second anniversary

  • SOLA, School of Leadership, Afghanistan what's in the name?
  • SOLA helps those who help themselves — what does this mean?
  • We are not a traditional school — “no spoon feeding...”
  • We’re not about numbersWe focus on getting a very small number of highly capable young Afghans into the very best universities — not just in America, but world-wide.

Last year SOLA helped 15 students*, 13 of them girls, find scholarships at institutions such as Cornell, Middlebury, Mt. Holyoke, Russell Sage, Tufts, and Yale
          (* Both SOLA students and others who had worked for Ted while managing a U.S. government-funded exchange program.)


  • We teach you reading — writing — math.

PLS LISTEN CAREFULLY: THE FACT THAT YOU SPEAK EXCELLENT ENGLISH masks two significant weaknesses: reading speed without high comprehension and essay writing
          We work in small groups. We emphasize reading serious books; becoming conversant on current events (major newspaper articles, not just American); and writing well — very, very well

  • We help prepare you for the interview

As important as your TOEFL score? Yes. What is the interviewer looking for? CONFIDENCE
          If you need a classroom teacher to tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do it, then SOLA is not for you.

  • We help those who help themselves
If you want a SOLA scholarship, you do 90% of the work and we’ll do the rest. 
          15 figured out how to make this work last year. This year the total may near 25. It’s up to you.
                    …SOLA is not about numbers; SOLA is about the quality of the student, the quality of their education, and the latent qualities they demonstrate as prospective leaders

“The solutions to Afghanistan’s often seemingly insoluble problems will come from educated Afghans, especially its women , and will not be, cannot ever be, imposed from the outside.”

This is SOLA.  

          Thank you for helping us celebrate.    

                    —Ted Achilles

May 1, 2009

To the YES Class of 2008-2009

Please accept our heartiest congratulations for completing the last 10 months of what you will always remember as one of the single most important years of your lives.

The YES program has been praised by the Honorable Ronald Neumann, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, as the program (paraphrased) “with the greatest long term impact on Afghanistan of any program sponsored by our Embassy”.

What next after YES?

SOLA – School of Leadership, Afghanistan

was conceived and brought to life to answer that question. In June you are very welcome to enroll in SOLA’s A classes. Each class has only 2 students. The focus? Help you build your TOEFL score to the 580 to 620 range. This is where you need to be to win FULL FOUR-YEAR SCHOLARSHIPS at the best of colleges and universities around the world. There is no charge for these classes. Essay writing classes? Yes (taught online from VT.) We opened a (free) girl’s dormitory (photos follow) in March for those who live too far away to join us otherwise. Our first four residents are from Farah, Herat (2) and Kabul (walks with crutches). Kandahar tomorrow. 11 bunks remain for your Class.

Our class schedules are geared to

Y O U R   J O B S.

We absolutely understand the need for you to be able to contribute meaningfully to the support of your families. You now need to put your hard earned English fluency to good use in well paying jobs. You will find yourselves alongside earlier YES alumni / ae at our Embassy and USAID, at many INGOs, hospitals and the like. These are real jobs that have pay ranges that start from $350 to $500 a month and can lead / have led / to positions earning $1,500 or more.

SOLA is new. Our impact to-date has been minimal. Our momentum is picking up. We cannot now, and will not ever, make any guarantees. How you do, how hard you push yourself, how many hours you put in is entirely up to you. Examples: M joined us from an outlying province – and quickly earned a four year scholarship. R read something like 30 books in a year and got a fantastic four year scholarship. N is finishing her first of four years at Nagoya University in Japan! M took an online essay writing class offered by a writing professor we have come to know well and, yes, also won a 4 year scholarship. M just finished the Complete Works of Ernest Hemmingway. They all made their own breaks

SOLA helps those who help themselves. ”

Yours is THE leadership generation. Take the next step: enter the ranks of the top +/-0.001% of all educated Afghans, prepare to lead your country, to prosper financially, to make a lifetime difference for your entire family, and for your country. WE look forward to seeing you soon: HA-MY-MY-RM-TA + 3 volunteer interns, a teacher and our 1st Ph.D.

SOLA – School of Leadership, Afghanistan

House 31, St. 16, Karte Seh, District 6, Kabul 0093 (0) 799-763-288

SOLA Kabul

SOLA Conference in the USA