Following their takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban imposed restrictions which affected Afghans in all parts of the country. One of the most significant impacts has been on girls education.

While education had been segregated by gender in the past, since the Taliban takeover, this has become more rigid and restrictive. Unfortunately, this has resulted in girls and women educators being unable to attend or teach in secondary schools. Many hope this is a temporary situation.

In the Afghanistan, Lela* a 16-year-old student in Grade 12, felt disappointed, “Schools opened for boys of Grades 7-12, but there is still no word on when we may be able to return to our classes,” she explained.

After a week of wondering when she and her peers would be able to return to school, Lela heard news from a local mosque. The announcement indicated that English and other courses would be offered in an education centre for girls. Bursting with excitement, Lela ran to her father and shared the news.

The next day, Lela and two of her classmates rushed to sign up. “As we reached the education centre, we went to the registration desk to enrol ourselves in the courses available. I enrolled myself in the mathematics course as I find this subject challenging.”

Bridging Gaps

Education is an investment that plays a pivotal role in a child’s future. Specifically, it provides girls with stability, opportunities, self-confidence and the knowledge to navigate the changing world with social-emotional and life skills. When girls are educated, not only do they benefit individually, but their communities and countries also profit. As well as strengthening their countries’ economic growth, women who are able pursue education contribute to their countries’ productivity.

PWS&D knows how important educating girls is. Working with our local partner, twelve education centres were established in two districts in Afghanistan.

These education centers are helping students with language challenges, facilitating science courses and helping students and parents navigate through school-related matters in the meantime.

Lela is one of 90 students currently enrolled at the centre. She shared, “the three-month course has cleared many mathematical concepts and provided ample information on the subject. The teacher is very vocal and interactive with the students. After returning home every day, my father discusses the lesson we studied the same day in the class, giving me the opportunity to revise the lesson. The centres are well equipped with stationary kits, whiteboards, flip charts, markers, handwashing kits, soap, and carpets to sit on comfortably. After the course completion, I will enrol myself in the English course too to continue my learning here.”

As the future of girls’ education remains uncertain in Afghanistan, these education centres are providing much-needed support, enabling students to keep up with their studies while they eagerly wait to return to school.

*Names have been changed.