| May 3, 2023
Meeting the demand for education
Gul Naz writes on the chalkboard
For eight-year-old Gul, the thawing of winter in her remote Afghan village meant more than just warmer days ahead—it meant a new adventure! She was delighted to learn that she had been promoted to the second grade and would begin her studies following the winter break. The teacher at her community-based school noted the enthusiasm among all the students in the start of the new school year. “Students attend class with great passion and joy,” she remarked.
This school is one of 92 schools, hosting 191 classrooms, that Central Asia Institute is supporting in Northern Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Girls Education (AGE) project has been essential in providing primary schooling in Argo, Tagab, Baharak, and Khash Districts in Badakhshan.
A sustained demand for education
Parents, community elders, members of shuras (councils), and schoolteachers have been actively engaged with the project, offering support, insight, and participation in training workshops. While community involvement is essential for schools anywhere in the world, it is especially important in these mountainous villages where insecurity and cultural restrictions can pose substantial challenges.
There is no doubt that the Taliban restrictions have resulted in tremendous loss of learning for the girls and women of Afghanistan, and the path forward is uncertain. Despite this, the demand for education among families is higher than ever. Our project currently serves 5,696 students, of whom 4,074 are girls; and our partners receive calls from villages throughout the region asking for educational support. Beyond the Taliban restrictions, the lack of education services has been exacerbated by a lack of resources and poor infrastructure, geographic barriers and natural disasters.
The pressures of a humanitarian crisis
Although continued education is a top priority for the communities that Central Asia Institute works with, the ongoing humanitarian crisis demands attention. More than 28 million people need assistance and have faced internal displacement. In 2022, Central Asia Institute delivered aid to 6,628 people in the form of food packages, health and hygiene items and cold weather gear. Meeting the immediate needs of these families, along with supporting infrastructural improvements, is part of our comprehensive efforts to deliver quality education.
Why your support matters
Gul's father takes great pride in his daughter’s achievements. He reflects on the days before she was enrolled in school, and how joyous the change has been. “Before, the walls of our house were dark, but now they are bright and colorful with drawings, paintings, and calligraphy hanging on the walls. It cheers us up and gives us hope for a bright future,” he says. As for Gul, she knows that she and her classmates are ready for life as second graders, saying: “We girls are so motivated to study and learn.”
Education is the key to eliminating gender inequality, reducing poverty, and fostering peace. At CAI, we believe that education is a currency of hope for a better future and we are thankful for each gift that makes our work possible.
Gul Naz with her father and teachers
Second grades students in Northern Afghanistan