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  • University of Central Asia’s learning center in Shugnan, Afghanistan.
    AKDN / Mikhail Romanyuk
University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education
Building better futures with small business

Asle Mohammad Ashury is just 21 years old, but he has already graduated from the University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education’s Information Technology program at its satellite learning center in Shugnan, Afghanistan. Completing five levels of the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) program, — a computer skills certification recognized worldwide — Asle Mohammad received his ICDL certificate on August 4, 2015.

“The program helped and encouraged me to create self-employment,” Asle Mohammad says.

Asle Mohammad attended the IT program as a student of the Teacher Training College in Shugnan through a program funded by Aga Khan Foundation USA and the U.S. Agency for International Development known as the Multi-Input Area Development Global Development Alliance.

With the computer and business skills he gained at the University of Central Asia, Asle opened a photography and computer services studio in October 2014.

For over a year now his business in Barpanja Qala, Shughnan, District of Badakhshan, has done everything for clients, from photocopying and scanning documents and CVs, to document design and portrait photography. Asle Mohammad’s customers run a wide range from students and instructors at the Teacher Training College to government agencies, NGO workers, and officials.

His advice to other students? Use the knowledge, skills, and experience they gain to open their own businesses rather than wait for job opportunities to come to them. “Since opening this business, my family situation has gotten better,” says Asle Mohammad. “I’m improving my business and helping my family economically.”

Across Badakhshan, enterprises like Asle Mohammad’s are having a wider impact, helping to kickstart the economy, and taking advantage of new electricity access to largely rural stretches of that part of Afghanistan. Individuals like Asle Mohammad, pursuing education in skills that are driving Central Asia’s economic growth, are building better futures for themselves and their families.