Reflections on 2020


Salaam friend, 

2020 was an unpredictable year. It brought challenge and change for all of us. For many, it put significant strain on individuals, families, and communities.

And yet, we also observed the resilience and generosity of Afghan youth. We shared our struggles with mental health during a pandemic. We discovered new ways of connecting with our friends, colleagues, family, and most importantly, ourselves. We supported local Afghan businesses. We stuck together.

Today, I write to share our key accomplishments in 2020. None of this work would have been possible without you. Your support through sharing our posts, telling others about our work, and volunteering to be a part of our programs all helped us achieve this.

Here are some highlights of AYEDI’s 2020:

  • Launched our Afghan Youth Mentorship Program online, possible through 15 generous Afghan mentors volunteering their time to mentor 15 Afghan youth

  • Funded 20 Afghan youth-led groups a total of $30,000 to implement community-service projects through our Afghan Community Impact Incubator (ACII) – a unique and unprecedented partnership with the Government of Canada’s #RisingYouth project

  • Hosted workshops on topics such as anti-black racism in the Afghan community (in collaboration with ARCH and Strides Toronto) and OSAP funding

  • Our Executive Director, Khalidha Nasiri, was a panelist at the Canada Vote Summit – a gathering of Canada’s top scholars, academics, policymakers, and community leaders in the field of voter engagement and elections – sharing lessons learned from our 2019 election Afghan voter engagement efforts

  • Our social media posts reached over 14,000 people

  • Created a YouTube channelsubscribe here

  • Created a LinkedIn pagefollow us here 

As we look towards the new year, AYEDI has many goals. We hope to continue having your support in 2021.

With a new year comes hope and opportunity. From the AYEDI team, happy new year and best wishes to you and yours on the year ahead!

Warmest regards,

Khalidha Nasiri

Executive Director

The AYEDI Team:

Marjila Yousof, Vice President

Ferozan Nasiri, Outreach Director

Veeda Tanwir, Events and Sponsorship Director

Basbono Mirzanabat, Internal Director

Frishta Bastan, Advisory Board

Wares Fazelyar, Advisory Board

Robina Hafizy, Advisory Board

Afghan Youth Mentorship Program Update

In 2020, we launched our Afghan Youth Mentorship Program, which runs from October 2020 to April 2021.

This program was designed by Afghan-Canadian youth, for Afghan-Canadian youth. The goal of the program is to:

  • enhance Afghan youth resiliency and capacity to pursue higher education and employment opportunities

  • improve access to Afghan-Canadian mentors who share similar lived experiences

  • build social and emotional wellness by providing safe spaces for Afghan youth to discuss issues specific to our community.

Participants were mailed their own Afghan Youth Mentorship Program Journal that contains activities and guides for discussion throughout the year with their mentor.

In November 2020, we held our first group mentorship session on the topic of mental health awareness. Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah spoke with participants about the definition of mental health, signs and symptoms of mental illness, stigma in the Afghan community, self-care and resilience practices, and resources. Dr. Sediqzadah is possibly Canada’s only Afghan psychiatrist and we enjoyed having her join us.

We are so thankful to our 15 mentors who volunteer their time, energy, and passion to support 15 Afghan youth in various life areas. We look forward to expanding the program in the future!

This program is generously funded by the City of Toronto.

Afghan Community Impact Incubator (ACII)

In 2020, AYEDI partnered with TakingITGlobal’s #RisingYouth Program to launch the first of its kind Afghan-focused community impact incubator in Canada. The Afghan Community Impact Incubator (ACII) aims to encourage young leaders and Change Makers in the Afghan community, by supporting their actions to improve the lives of others.

ACII offered participants with:

  • ideation and project design advice

  • grant writing workshop

  • up to $1500 in funding

  • guidance to launch their project⠀

We are thrilled to announce that through our ACII program, 20 Afghan youth-led groups received $30,000 in funding to implement community projects in Canada!

Our first ACII “Change Makers” cohort have all kinds of awesome ideas that have received funding. Some of these community service projects include yoga for moms in Dari, traditional afghan needlework, a youth book club, video projects, language courses, developing a mobile app for seniors, and various workshops and conferences on mental health, centering Hazara voices, and more! All projects specifically target the Afghan diaspora in Canada.

AYEDI will be showcasing these projects one by one on our instagram timeline and in our story in the new year, so be sure to follow us on our social media (@ayedicanada) to keep up!