Afghanistan’s fractured society is recovering from three tumultuous decades after the 1979 Russian invasion, as several regimes have dominated the country since, robbing it of stable government. The fundamentalist Taliban ruled from 1996 to 2001, rendering thousands of Afghans refugees, who fled to neighboring Pakistan and other countries. After the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, the refugees have been able to return, but live in fear of the Taliban who, along with other militant groups, are still active in many areas, endangering the few rights girls and women presently have.
Barakat has two schools in the Faryab and Jowzjan provinces of Northwest Afghanistan, home to the Turkmen and Uzbek people. These distinct ethnic communities are resettling in their homeland after being refugees for many years. Barakat Afghanistan is the local subsidiary through which Barakat, Inc. coordinates its efforts for education in the region. In addition to emphasizing the benefits of education, Barakat must be creative in promoting girls and women’s education, a low-priority issue in this society. Many students at Barakat’s initiatives in Afghanistan come from low-income families and are the first in their families to attend school. Students are provided with transportation, uniforms and textbooks, at no cost to their families. Female participation is increased by creating female-only sections for each grade and by making female teachers available.
Barakat’s schools and literacy programs educate and empower the people of Afghanistan, because education is a tool by which economically and socially marginalized children and adults can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully as citizens. It is our belief that the children and adults we educate are enabled to participate in the national political process to improve their communities through knowledge and non-violence. Also, by bringing students from different backgrounds together in its schools, Barakat aims to promote tolerance and to create more vibrant communities through the exchange of ideas and interaction of cultures.
Students at the Faryab and Jowzjan schools are instructed in Dari, the national language of Afghanistan. Subjects taught also include Pashto, Turkish, Arabic, English, mathematics, science, social sciences, and Islamic studies.
In addition, teachers for both schools are regularly trained by the government of Afghanistan at the Dar Mualimin, or Education Center, in Andkhoy to increase their knowledge in different subjects and for higher grade levels.