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news | September 22, 2016 | Afghanistan | Development

"I want to become a teacher and help other girls"

ACTED and DFID worked together in Faryab province, Afghanistan, to promote girls' access to primary education - ©Farzana Wahidy, 2016

Nahid, a young girl from the Faryab province in Northern Afghanistan, was eager to enroll in primary school. She convinced her father to enroll in a primary school built and run by ACTED in her village within the Girls' Education Challenge programme implemented by ACTED and DFID in the Faryab province. Here is her story.

Nahid lives in a village of Faryab province in Northern Afghanistan. She had always wanted to attend school, like some other girls in her village, and often dreamed of what she might learn in school. When Nahid asked her father if she could enroll in school, he said no. “My father looked at me and asked me, did your mother go to school? Did your grandma go to school?” Neither Nahid’s mother nor her grandmother had received an education, so her father did not understand why she needed to go to school, either. But, Nahid did not give up. “Please enroll me in the school because I want to learn,” she begged her father. Still, he resisted, saying “you need to help your mother at home, school is not for girls.” This attitude is common in Afghanistan, where just 17% of women can read and write.

Impelling positive change

One night, when Nahid’s father turned on the radio, there was a program featuring a woman talking about education. After listening to this radio program, her father agreed to send his daughter to school. Nahid enrolled in a primary school built and run by ACTED in her village. Her family could not afford to buy books and stationary, so ACTED gave her supplies to use. “Now I am very glad that I am going to school and following my education,” says Nahid. She is now able to read letters that her family receives, and her father is very proud and supportive of his daughter’s education.

"I want to show everyone that going to school is also good for girls"

Through the Girls Education Challenge Program, funded by DFID, ACTED built ten primary school which have now been handed over to the Ministry of Education to ensure their sustainability in villages like Nahid’s, providing primary education to 4,100 girls in Northern Afghanistan. Many girls in Afghanistan are unable to go to school, because their families can’t afford supplies, or due to cultural sensitivities, or because there simply isn’t a school within a safe walking distance. ACTED’s programming addresses all these barriers to education, allowing girls like Nahid to enroll in school. “I want to become a teacher and I want to help other girls, like ACTED helped us,” Nahid told us. “I wish there were no illiterate girls in our village and I want to show everyone that going to school is also good for girls.”