On 14 Feb 2014, with V-Day’s help, we opened an education center for women and young girls in Kabul, which provides free English, computer, science, and literacy courses. Also, we organized seminars on psychological therapy for women, dealing with common issues like anxiety, depression, and suicide. Furthermore there have been seminars covering issues like women’s rights in society, women’s legal rights, birth control, and other women’s health issues.
Initially we started the project for 150 women but after seeing the overwhelming responses of more women and girls, we started enrolling more students, especially those who were the worst sufferers of violence and poverty in their homes. Now we have 300 registered women in the center. Most enroll themselves for science classes because the quality of education is very poor in Afghanistan. Though millions of dollars have been donated for education sector development, particularly for girls, the quality of education is still appallingly poor and far from meeting the standards. For this reason, students are joining private learning centers to prepare for the university admission exams, called Kankor, so that they can get admission in their desired field. The competition is very fierce as there are limited seats in Afghan universities for new students. Therefore, girls coming from poor families wish to pass this exam and get admitted in a good program, as this will determine their future. Our education center provides university admission exam preparation classes free for those girls who cannot afford to attend private institutions. They come here with a hope to get admitted in a good field, find a good job, and secure their future. This makes them financially independent and only in this case they can stand up against physical and psychological violence at home and abroad.
The education is running successfully. All girls come with a lot of interest and enthusiasm. We have women coming with babies in their arms, just to learn. In our literacy class after six months many women can read and write which boosts their confidence.
Despite the number of students being 300, we have between five to ten girls coming for registration every day and we are forced to reject them and some leave with tears in the eyes, which is very painful. We have no option as we have no space. Also, due to the lack of enough space we increased the number of shifts in order to accommodate everyone.