School Library for Girls in Northern Afghanistan

Sep 5, 2014

Shelves of Books!

Class reading exercise
Class reading exercise

With your generous support, Ayni was able to equip a village school in Northern Afghanistan with books.

"Bring us books, books and more books. We need textbooks. We need books with our poetry and stories about life. We need books about hope. Come and see our room, there are no books," a student told Airokhsh, our Afghan summer intern as she traveled throughout our rural schools this summer. Now thanks to your support, we purchased books in Mazar-i-Sharif and transported them to the rural village in time for summer reading. Fall quarter begins soon and the library is equipped with new books for the course requirements. 

While Afghanistan has made tremendous strides getting girls in the doors of schools since the fall of the Taliban, girls in rural areas continue to lag behind their urban sisters in attending school. Over 60% of rural girls do not attend school and are vulnerable to ongoing cycles of early marriage, health problems and desperate poverty. There are many reasons for girls not attending school including a lack of schools, troublesome security situations and few resources such as books and other equipment. This library project focused on a rural school that touches the lives of over 2,000 girls. Girls go to school in shifts, typically up to three shifts in one day. The village school teaches girls beginning in kindergarten through grade 12. Having books to read is an essential step in tackling illiteracy. 

This year our staff designed a writing competition to encourage girls to read more. Now with the books,  twenty-five girls entered the competition. 

One student noted, "the books help me to better understand people, cultures, ideas, behaviours, wishes and most importantly, their hopes. I think my top position in my class is because of my understanding of general information about  studies and also about the wider world now." This student was among the essay winners and drew upon the information in books to tell her story about her life in Afghanistan. 

Donor support is essential for bringing books into rural schools. Afghanistan remains on the bottom rung of the UN Poverty Index. Helping girls gain a toehold in reading and writing contributes to lifting the nation out of poverty.

Girls Reading
Girls Reading

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