The challenge of female education in Afghanistan is one which must be met every step of the way, at the primary, secondary and higher education levels as well. With this motivation guiding us Barakat is going to start a Scholarship Program for Higher Education for Girls
and Women called Takhaza-e-Dokhtaran. A literal translation of the term means 'Request of the Girls.'
Barakat did indeed receive written letters of request from the girls who have been chosen for the scholarships. All the letters, without exception, express their ardent desire to continue their education because they see it as the only way out of their current situation of poverty and grueling hard work. All the girls who have been chosen for the program are from poor family backgrounds and cannot afford to pay tuition fees in school or university which would come to $550 per year. They are, nevertheless, good scholars and have the potential to continue to grow as promising students, who can then go on to other professions like teaching, nursing, etc. As things stand they earn their living by manual labor or else work at home, taking care of the house and family.
The girls range in age from 17 to 23. Many of the girls could only join school after the Taliban had left, or had to cease attending school during their reign.
23 year old Aliya is in 9th grade in Andkhoy's Lycee Yuldoz. Her father is crippled and their means limited. She herself contributes to the family income by weaving carpets, as does 17 year old Noorjan.
Noorjan studied till 7th grade in Barakat's Ersari Academy School in Attock, Pakistan when she was there as a refugee. She returned with her family to her hometown of Andkhoy, Faryab in 2006 and has since been unable to re-join school because the family's financial means are constrained.
Hamida is 18 years old and attends 6th grade in Lycee Yuldoz in Andkhoy, Faryab. After the death of her father, her mother re-married but unfortunately, she does not have support from her step-father to continue her education. Consequently, she is looking now towards us as she struggles to continue studying.
As you are aware, Barakat already provides primary and secondary education through Sowat Amausi and Sowat Hayati Literacy Courses for girls and women, as well as running two formal schools with separate classes for boys and girls in Jowzjan and Faryab, the two Northern provinces of Afghanistan. However, this would be Barakat's first foray into higher education.
In this we would like to share the request of the girls with you – one check of $550.00 would send one girl to school for one year, and make an immeasurable difference to her future. Please consider giving a donation to Takhaza-e-Dokhtaran.