Unfortunately, women’s rights are still not implemented or even acknowledged by the vast majority of the Afghan population. Although some improvements have been made in recent years, the situation of women in Afghanistan remains poor. Barakat emphasizes education of women and girls because of the impact that such an education can have on society. The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Afghanistan Human Development Report 2007 highlights the connection between rights for women and children, stating, “gender equality and justice for women provide double dividends, as it benefits both women and children. There is no doubt that healthy, educated, and empowered women are more likely to raise healthy, educated, confident, and successful children who can become positive change agents to create a more prosperous society.”
To help Barakat achieve its mission, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), has given Barakat a grant to continue our human rights training for the third year in a row.
This will allow Barakat to educate 45 teachers working for Barakat Afghanistan and 115 teachers working in schools that are funded and managed by the Ministry of Education (Waziriat-e-Mahroof) of Afghanistan. The program will focus on human rights as enshrined in their Constitution, with a special emphasis on women and children. It will concentrate on the current state of their rights as opposed to the rights and protections guaranteed to them by law.
This teacher training will contribute to the creation of a society in which men and women treat one another as equals, and in which children’s rights are recognized and honored. Last year, 54 Barakat teachers and 69 teachers from government-run schools attended our human rights training program. This year that number will increase by 30 percent by expanding into Sar-e-pol province of Afghanistan. Mohammad Maroof, a Barakat teacher in the Jowzjan province, believes that these programs are important because, “our students are children. They will grow up to be future citizens of Afghanistan.”