Twenty-four-year-old Wahida received a good education when she was living as a refugee in Peshawar, Pakistan. However, when she returned to her village in Afghanistan, she was surprised by new obstacles and few opportunities. Because of poverty, her brother was forced to quit school and work to support the family. Wahida wanted to help by becoming a teacher at a nearby high school for girls, but her brother objected. âI donât want you to go out of the house,â he said. âDonât you know that the girls of this village only perform household chores and nothing else?â
Her opportunity was realized when the village malik (elder) spoke to her about USAIDâs Support to Women in Skills, Entrepreneurship, and Literacy project. Knowing that Wahida was well-educated, he wanted her to get involved and help establish a literacy center in the village.
The Support to Women in Skills, Entrepreneurship and Literacy project works to improve the economic condition of 630 vulnerable women and girls in eastern Afghanistan. Training workshops improve womenâs skills in tailoring, embroidery, carpet weaving, food processing, and weaving so that they can produce quality goods and sell them to earn an income. In addition, women like Wahida teach literacy classes in 25 centers throughout eastern Afghanistan with the cooperation of the Educational and Training Center for Women and Girls.
The elder succeeded in convincing her brother that the opportunity was safe and would benefit Wahida and other women. âPeople of our village do not understand that women and men have an equal right to study. It is the responsibility of people like you and me to take initiative and make girlsâ education available and eliminate illiteracy,â he explained.
Wahida is currently working as a literacy teacher with 25 women enrolled in her class. In addition to teaching, she regularly stresses the importance of education for women and girls. Her students spread the same message to their family members. Young girls who used to spend their days doing chores are now attending school. Wahida found that one person can make a real difference in the lives of others.
June 3, 2014
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