Social Issues

Afghan girl promotes female education defying Taliban

Kabul, Oct 27 (EFE).- Razia Samim became the first high school graduate from her remote village in southern Afghanistan, and is now inspiring other girls in her area to continue studying despite the lack of resources and the ban on female education by the Taliban.

The 20-year-old belongs to one of the last batch of women to graduate before the fundamentalists banned them from high school classrooms after coming to power in 2021, a ban they later extended to university and higher education as well.

Unable to continue her studies, Samim decided to teach about 100 primary-age girls in Kakarano Cheena, her home village in the southern province of Zabul.

“We are deprived of higher education, but I decided to help the little girls in my village,” Samim told EFE.

The fundamentalists’ restrictions added to the difficulties presented by the remote area where Samim lives, which has been battered by the armed conflict that has plagued the country for nearly two decades.

Her home, in fact, was on the front line of the war between the Afghan security forces of the deposed democratic government in 2021 and the Taliban, then an insurgent group, forcing them to move to the city.

“This area was always under war between the Taliban and the security forces of foreign governments, one day some had control of the area and another day others did,” she said.

Over the years, Samim returned to the village, where she now teaches more than a hundred girls between the ages of seven and 12, with financial support from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

“I’m the only educated girl in my area, so I invited everyone in my village to come and study,” she said.

“I dreamed of being a doctor and helping disadvantaged people, but unfortunately my dreams did not come true,” she rued, recalling how her dreams were shattered by the Taliban’s ban on women’s education.

Along with her father, Samim is the main breadwinner for her family of 15 in one of Afghanistan’s poorest provinces.

The arrival of the Taliban resulted in Afghanistan becoming the only country in the world where women are banned from higher education.

Moreover, women face other restrictions such as a ban on working in NGOs, the mandatory use of the Islamic veil, gender segregation of public spaces, and the need to be accompanied by a male family member for long journeys.

Cut off from social life, they have also been banned from beauty salons and national parks, as well as from playing sports or appearing in films.

The reality that Afghan women are currently experiencing is increasingly similar to the era of the first Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001.

The Taliban have governed the country based on a rigid interpretation of Islam and a strict social code known as pashtunwali, resulting in women being kept in the home.

Moreover, the country is in the midst of a humanitarian and economic crisis that has persisted for years in the country and that was aggravated by the freezing of foreign assets and funds for the reconstruction of Afghanistan after the Taliban returned to power.

“This is a setback for our country and really difficult for Afghan women to survive. I call on the Government and the international community to open the doors of schools,” Samim concluded. EFE


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