Sohila always wanted to go to school and learn how to read and write, but no one in her family had been to school before.She says that her parents didn’t let her enroll in school because she was a girl.” But Sohila was so keen to go to school that when she could, she would follow the other girls in her village to school and attend classes without permission.
She kept asking her parents for permission to go to school, but Sohila’s father refused. He said that girls do not need to go to school and that her enrollment would bring shame to her and her family. The distance to the nearest school was also a concern and her parents were worried about her safety on the way.
Things changed when the UK supported NGO Save the Children started accelerated learning classes in Sohila’s community. Sohila’s father became a school management committee member and felt reassured that if there were classes in the community, the girls could attend safely.
Sohila’s father shared what he had learnt with his wife, explaining that older girls who had never attended school could attend accelerated learning classes where they study two grades in one year and that the girls would be well looked after in a class near home. Sohila’s mother was satisfied and took Sohila to enroll in school.
Sohila has made rapid progress. She says:
Now I am studying in grade 3 and I can read, write and draw. I learned about Islam too. Because education is important for me, after a year of school I was in first position in the class. I feel really proud of all the things I have learned in class and I am really happy. My family and the other people in the community are very grateful to Save the Children and we really appreciate their work, especially helping girls like me, who were uneducated, to attend school.
For rural Afghan girls, getting an education can be difficult. Family restrictions and the long distances to government schools are the main barriers to school attendance. The STAGES project, funded by UKaid’s Girls Education Challenge, has established community-based classes that make it possible for girls to learn to read and write close to home.