Despite the challenges that have kept girls from accessing a quality education, Afghanistan’s recent progress in this area is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of so many. More and more, young girls and women are improving their prospects and taking an active role in their communities, thanks to a quality education.
So when their opportunities were threatened by the pandemic, Abdul Khan* – a teacher at a Community-Based Education (CBE) class established through the Afghan girls’ education programme, STAGES – was not about to give up.
Besides providing educational support to his students throughout distance learning, Abdul has also become the community librarian, going door to door distributing books to students and others during the pandemic.
“After lockdown was imposed, I realised how worried and tense my students were. I decided to start distributing library books to the doorstep of students and community members, to help minimise the mental strain of isolation.”
While the school was closed, Abdul also worked with his community to improve their reading habits. “I met each student, School Management Committee member, and parent individually to show them a variety of different books and explain the benefits of reading,” he continued.
“Books are our best friends – they inspire us to do great things in life”
Abdul Khan, CBE teacher
Abdul is delighted to be able to do something for his community during lockdown, and his hard work has definitely paid off. The library he is responsible for became one of the most active STAGES libraries in the district, with some 1,319 books distributed in three months – almost double the number of books that would normally be borrowed during that period.
“I once read that books are our best friends – they inspire us to do great things in life and overcome failures.” Abdul shared. He is delighted to see that his efforts have encouraged students and community members to read more, as they now pay regular visits to the library to borrow their favourite books.
Reflecting on the challenges and problems that life can throw at us, Abdul is grateful that so many around the world work hard to make life easier for others, and noted that this is one way that he is inspired to do more.
“I am sure this pandemic will end one day,” Abdul concluded optimistically, “and people can resume their regular lives. When they do, they will not forget those who helped them unconditionally, and I am proud that I could give a helping hand during this harsh time.”
*All names and locations have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals involved
Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Education Success (STAGES) is AKF’s largest girls’ education programme globally. AKF is proud to work with a consortium of partners to implement this programme which includes CARE, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Aga Khan Education Services, and the Afghan Education Production Organisation (AEPO). It is supported by the Afghan Ministry of Education and funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.