“I encourage all women and children to study despite the difficulties they face. I feel one day their education will help them overcome their problems,” says Hasina, a 27-year-old mother of four who attends one of our home-based literacy courses in Afghanistan. Hasina’s parents did not let her attend school as a child, due to safety issues and also because the importance of literacy was not apparent to them. But it is to Hasina. She works as a tailor during the day and attends her literacy course in the evening. Even though Hasina says she will not be able to continue her education beyond this course as she needs to spend more time taking care of her children, she is happy to have the opportunity to become literate. “This course is very valuable to me because it will help me read and write properly,” she says. For many women in Afghanistan, who were not able to attend school, our literacy course is their sole hope of becoming literate.
Abeda, a 38-year-old mother and housewife, began attending a Barakat literacy course because of her strong interest in learning. Although her children attend formal schools, Abeda was only able to complete her education up to second grade. The school she attended was burnt down by a destructive act of terrorism by the Taliban. “I understand the importance of education and truly feel that the basic advantage of this course is that it will allow women to go further in pursuing higher education,” Abeda says. She feels fortunate that no one in her family or her husband’s family is against women’s education, because she believes in education and considers it to be a human right.
Khair Ulnesa, age 50, is another mother and housewife enrolled in one of Barakat’s literacy courses. “I learned about the literacy course through girls and other women in the village,” she says. “I have always been a fan of books since I was young, and now I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to learn.” Her children attend formal schools, and Khair believes education will open new paths for her and her family. “I strongly advise all women to obtain an education either through literacy courses or formal schools,” she says. “It will really help them and their families move forward in life.”
These literacy courses provide an opportunity for women of all ages and all walks of life to be able to read and write. They also provide them the opportunity to access a fundamental human right- education.