WCIE is working with the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), to deliver an ESOL program to 30 Afghan women judges who are refugees.

Classes in this program are taught in small groups of four students maximum–an unusually personalized model–by experienced, professional instructors.

Background. Prior to August 2021, female judges made up about 10% of the sitting judges in Afghanistan. Contrary to what one might expect, they were often assigned the most difficult cases in the country–cases that involved corruption, terrorism, domestic violence, narcotics and related matters.

Court cases were televised in Afghanistan. Many judges are known by name and appearance. Once the Taliban took power, Afghanistan’s female judges immediately lost their jobs. They were threatened and went into hiding. Some, with the support of the IAWJ, fled the country.

The program. IAWJ contacted us in August 2022 and asked us to offer a program to judges from their Afghanistan chapter. IAWJ’s ultimate goal is to support the transition of these remarkable women to work in the United States, if possible in legal support related positions.

Opportunities. The judges if successful can take advantage of some unique support. The American Bar Association launched an Afghan Professionals Resettlement Task Force in late 2021 to sponsor some of these students for LL.M. degrees at American law schools and to prepare them for legal professional work—exciting opportunities—so long as they achieve required levels of language proficiency. English had become a critical need of the judges. Without a systematic approach to language education, these leaders will not achieve their potential. WCIE’s program addresses this critical need.

Our goal: to help these remarkable women make progress in their English as they make their way to the U.S. and along each step of their resettlement experience, in a personalized class environment, with well-trained, experienced instructors. WCIE has also partnered with the Women’s Bar Association of D.C. (WBA) to develop a professional development program to serve these students and reinforce their leadership skills.

Our partners. WCIE is designing a robust program with the help of great partners. We are working with the Women’s Bar Association of D.C. (WBA) to develop a professional development program to encourage these students and reinforce their leadership skills. WCIE is also grateful that Education Testing Service (ETS), the organization that owns the TOEFL, has provided the judges access to TOEFL prep materials online and arranged for them to complete a TOEFL Practice Test for free.

Please consider supporting our ESOL programs for refugees. Email us for information about how to to get involved, or we appreciate charitable contributions to support these programs.