This is what bravery, pride and strength of conviction looks like in Afghanistan:
Photo credits: Rows one and two © TIE, Row three © RRHF
For girls to be able to attend school in Afghanistan there are many obstacles that must be overcome. They must have the support of their families. This is no easy task, as they often must overcome social stereotypes as well as the families’ potential for loss of income when their daughters are in school. They often must walk lengthy distances, in inclement weather, to be able to attend a school, consisting of broken chalk board tablets with students huddled outdoors or in substandard shells of buildings listening to a teacher who may only come a few times a month. When they return home they are still expected to do vital housework to feed, clothe and care for their families.
For more and more girls, attending a real school with text books, a chalkboard and a regular teacher is moving from dream to reality. Yet, they still must face possible persecution from others who are not as supportive of their education. They face taunts, verbal and physical abuse and attacks.
In a recent article the poisoning of Afghan school girls was discussed. These young girls, fighting for their education, had no doubt heard of other stories circulated of girls who faced attacks for going to school, and yet they woke up and walked great distances to go to school that day only to have their water poisoned. Others like them will do the same tomorrow, in spite of the dangers they face.
The tide can turn in Afghanistan, more and more parents are sending their girls to get an education, but we must help them on their journey. We must remember that even after the schools are funded and the teachers paid, these brave girls are the ones who show true strength and determination in seeking an education at any cost. We would like to thank them and honor them by remembering their fortitude when we may otherwise have overlooked it as we go about our days.