YOUR APRIL peace mail from AFGHANISTAN
My name is Ghulam and I live in a village in Nangarhar Province in north-east Afghanistan. As an elder in my community, I am dedicated and enthusiastic about girls’ education.
I was born and raised in an environment where people strictly follow norms, traditions and culture – which unfortunately do not allow our girls access to education.
Many people here believe that women are born to stay within their homes under strict “pardah” which is the keeping women inside or behind the veil. Some consider a woman living independently with an education to be no better than a woman with a disrespectful lifestyle, which is a dishonour to their families.
I am a Muslim, and I believe that Islam is a religion of peace and prosperity, which provides equal rights to all. I always wish to discuss this with our community members and religious leaders but due to my own lack of knowledge, I haven’t been able to formulate a valid argument to persuade others.
Thankfully, in our village the project team from Community World Service Asia (CWSA) organises information sessions on the importance of education and child rights in our village as part of the Girls Education Project (GEP). In these sessions, CWSA gather together community members, parents and religious leaders and shares scriptures and information. They share quotes that explicitly favour the education of both men and women. These sessions helped increased my knowledge and provided food for thought for people in my village. From this, I decided to take the initiative to form a volunteer committee to support girls and women to pursue education.
A young teacher in my village, Raheema*, is very enthusiastic and eager to become a professional teacher to serve our community. To accomplish her dream, and with the support of my volunteer committee, Raheema has established a literacy course for 13 women. For one hour a day, she teaches women basic level reading and writing. Already two classes have successfully graduated from the adult literacy class – 26 women have learned to read and write from her literacy program. This is an excellent achievement.
My volunteer committee awarded Raheema with the title “Best Girl of the Community.” Her services in the field of education were so invaluable that our religious leaders acknowledged her work, which is a major change in thinking. Raheema thanked my committee and the GEP team for support in her struggle.
I hope this helps to continue to change minds and motivate more women to become literate. Thank you for your support of my community and for helping to make this possible.
* Raheema’s name has been changed to protect her identity
In Afghanistan, only 19% of adult women are literate, compared to 49% of adult men. Source: Human Rights Watch, Oct 17.
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Your gift is making a difference:
$161 can cover the cost of a full community awareness session on the importance of education to locals, religious leaders and elders in rural Afghanistan.
Our local partner in Afghanistan, Community World Service Asia (CWSA works with communities to increase the value placed on education and literacy for girls and women. Through your support, CWSA aims to help women recognise their rights, roles, and responsibilities to themselves, their families, and their communities as well as the opportunity to be part of local economic development.
In his local community, Ghulam’s committee has helped change attitudes and has supported Raheema to provide reading and writing skills to women in the village. This helps to create an environment where girls and women experience gender equality, empowerment, and equal access to basic rights.
Happy Easter from Act for Peace.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
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