“I desire to have a better life,” says Laili Ghufary. Laili is in her first year of medical school at Aria Institute of Higher Education in Afghanistan, thanks to all the kind supporters of Barakat’s Girls Scholarship Program. “I will work hard in school so that I will be able to solve my problems and help others in the future,” she continues.
The Girls Scholarship Program helps selected students further their education beyond eighth grade, an opportunity that few women have in Afghanistan. Like the other girls chosen to receive our scholarships, Laili is motivated, committed to her education and from a family with limited financial means.
As a young girl, Laili’s parents taught her the importance of education. “My family’s expectations are closely related to my own educational aspirations,” she says. “My family expects me to work hard to achieve my career goal. I think the only way to achieve my goal is to get the right education.”
Laili’s father, who is now deceased, was a doctor, and her mother is the principal of a high school for girls. Qandi Gul encouraged her daughter to apply for the scholarship. “She is a talented girl, and it was her father’s hope that she should be a doctor in the future,” she says.
Since Qandi is educated, she knows how much Laili will benefit from her scholarship. “Seeking knowledge and education is really important,” says Qandi. “Those who are educated have great lives, and the society that is educated will have fewer problems if the members of that society know about their rights.”
Both Laili and her mother hope for easier access to education in their country. “As a first step, the government should provide a secure environment for girls to go to school and become literate,” says Laili. Qandi notes that the social pressure in some communities to keep girls out of school is a problem that is on the rise. “Security and stability of the society will be demolished if girls cannot go to school and seek knowledge,” she says.
Barakat’s scholarship recipients are role models for younger girls in the community. Laili plans to stay in touch with her secondary school to inspire other young women to overcome obstacles and continue their education. “Naturally, I will have many problems in pursuing my goals, but I will never back down because of problems. I will do my best to skillfully and logically overcome them all.”
Afghanistan has an average of 1 doctor for every 5,000 people. In comparison, the US has 1 doctor for every 37 people. The need for more female doctors in Afghanistan is especially strong. Health clinics in rural parts of the country typically employ only one female doctor to serve between 30,000 and 60,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. With these odds, it’s no wonder few Afghan women ever visit the doctor, let alone a female doctor who can address specifically female health issues. Click here to support girls like Laili with big dreams to change their community!