Yasamin Rasoul (August 2009)
The second award from the Fund was made to Yasamin Rasoul. She attended George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania during 2009-2010 and then returned to Afghanistan.
Yasamin in the News
“Life is getting a little bit better. There are still explosions and bombs, but it is not like it was before. There is definitely more freedom.
First of all the men had a problem with my sister and I playing soccer. Now most of them are happy about it.” [read full article]
“Every few days there was some sort of argument and after several weeks, I was kicked off the soccer field. I looked for and found another field, but it wasn’t safe for the girls because others who disagreed with girls playing soccer would watch and cause problems. Boys would come and make fun of them and give them a hard time when they left practice. It was a problem for them and their families, so the girls in my team stopped coming. It was also starting to get cold and winter came early. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep a girls’ team working together. Without the girls, I decided to work only on a boys’ team. [read full article]
Yasamin was born in Afghanistan and is from a large family. She has a father, mother, three older brothers, two older sisters, three younger brothers and a younger sister.
At an early age , Yasamin and her family had to flee Afghanistan.Yasamin grew up in Pakistan until her family returned to Afghanistan when she was 12 years old. Before then, she had not attended school. Opportunities for refugees were limited, so at eight years old she joined her siblings, getting up at 4:00 a.m. to weave rugs on the giant looms for 12 – 14 hours. The long days continued until the family returned to Kabul.
When the family returned from Pakistan, they squatted in the second floor of an abandoned house. Another family squatted on the first floor. Just two months after their return they were befriended by an American visitor, Duaine Goodno. He and his wife Barbara have been important in Yasamin’s life ever since then.
Entry into Education
Schools in Kabul open in March and the academic year ends in December. Yasamin started first grade in September 2002. Anxious to attend school, Yasamin enrolled herself without her parent’s knowledge. “They are busy,” she told the registrar. After three months, she passed the standardized final exam, a requirement for advancement. In 2003, she attended second grade and scored in second position in her grade for that year. On several occasions when the teacher was absent, Yasamin stood up and lead the class.
In February, 2004, during the Afghan school’s winter break, Yasamin, her younger sister and one of her younger brothers enrolled in Peace Bridge. Peace Bridge is part of the American-based Oasis system of international schools. The original agreement was that this was a trial enrollment to see if these three children were suitable for the school and could learn, because all classes were taught in English. Because of that, all three were placed in first grade. After two weeks, the school accepted them for the rest of the school year which ended in May. Shortly after beginning at Peace Bridge and just starting to learn English, Yasamin is pictured helping another child to learn English.
Kabul International Academy
Over the summer, Peace Bridge became the Kabul International Academy. The school was located in a new building with several teachers and a starting student body of 80. Yasamin was then placed in 5th grade. The summer of 2005 brought another big change. The school was awarded the USAID contract to become the “American School” in Kabul, and once again changed its name, this time to International School of Kabul.
Yasamin left the International School in April 2006 for additional English studies in the U.S. She returned and successfully completed sixth grade in the 2006-7 academic year. She attended seventh grade in the 2007-8 academic year.
Coming to America
At the same time as Yasamin started the International School in Afghanistan, a girl’s leadership program was also begun by Mr. Goodno. Yasamin was one of the first students. In this program, Yasamin received instruction on leadership, learned English and computer skills, and was introduced to sports. During the summer of 2004, eight girls including Yasamin traveled to the U.S. for six weeks where they stayed in Washington, D.C. for two weeks for tours and meetings, four weeks in at the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut where they attended a soccer camp, and then on to Cleveland Ohio where they played in the International Children’s Games.
When the eight girls returned to Afghanistan, they found that the government had started a girl’s football (soccer) program. More than 30 teams had been established and a national team was formed by the Olympic Committee. In December, five of the original eight girls that went together to the U.S. became a team and played against the other teams in a tournament. They were crowned champions, even though the other teams had at least eight girls and played six on the field. Yasamin was the lead scorer.
Yasamin returned to the U.S. in the 2005 (three months), 2006 (five months), 2007 (three months), and 2008 (three months). She attended a variety of soccer and Julie Foudy leadership camps during these stays.
Lado International College
Since Mr. Goodno first met Yasamin and her family in 2002, Mr. Goodno and his wife Barbara, with the encouragement and consent of Yasamin’s parents, have taken a strong interest in Yasamin’s welfare. In addition to helping Yasamin continue with her education in Afghanistan and participate in camps in the U.S., the Goodnos arranged for Yasamin to periodically attend the Lado International College in Washington, D.C. Lado is an educational institution that provides intensive English instruction to students who have native languages other than English. The student body is made up of adults from around the world.
Yasamin first attended Lado in 2005. In December 2008, she came to the U.S. on a student visa and attended Lado full time through June 2009.
Soccer meets education
In addition to an education, soccer, and a love for her family, Yasamin has shown leadership to bring soccer to others. She worked against odds to coach a girl’s team, and also formed a boy’s team with more than 50 players divided into three age groups.
Yasamin has attended the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, an organization formed by the two governments with membership of leading women from both countries. Her attendance was the first time a non-member was allowed to observe the whole proceeding.