Many women and girls in Afghanistan can't attend public school because they are widows, returned refugees, mothers, or former child brides. We're working with the Ministry of Education and the Malala Fund to expand our remedial, accelerated education programs by opening two new schools that will serve 1,000 students. Since 2007, more than 2,000 women have graduated from AAE's nine schools in five provinces with a state-certified high school diploma.
Once a girl gets married in Afghanistan, she usually leaves school to become a wife and mother-even if she is as young as 12 years old. Afghan refugees in Iran or Pakistan often miss years of education while they're away. Once women in these situations-mothers, widows, former child brides, returned refugees-decide to return to school, public schools won't take them. Afghanistan's rates of illiteracy are very high, and when women have already lost years of education, they fall behind in society.
AAE's remedial, accelerated education model helps women graduate with a state-approved high school diploma in just 8 years. We're expanding our programs by building two new schools in Kabul to reach 1,000 women who otherwise would not have access to quality education. By training teachers, we're also making sure that teachers evolve from rote memory education toward critical thinking and creative, engaging techniques.
Afghanistan is deeply scarred by war and violence. The 1,000 women who will attend these schools-standing on the shoulders of our 2,000+ graduates-will go on to educate their children, get jobs, create peaceful communities, study at university, support their families, and more. And bit by bit, Afghanistan will become closer to peace.