During Ramadan 2023, Central Asia Institute partners, staff, and program participants shared their reflections on the holiday. From finding strength in fasting to putting more passion into work, their reflections carried messages of faith, peace, joy and togetherness. Eid Mubarak, from everyone at Central Asia Institute!
For eight-year-old Gul Naz, the thawing of winter in her remote Afghan village meant more than just warmer days ahead—it meant a new adventure! Gul Naz was delighted to learn that she had been promoted to the second grade and would begin her studies following the winter break. The teacher at her community-based school, Mrs. Roshan Gul, noted the enthusiasm among all the students in the start of the new school year. “Students attend class with great passion and joy,” she remarked.
This school is one of 191 schools that Central Asia Institute is supporting in northern Afghanistan. Based in the heart of the community and situated in a community space, these schools provide primary education, especially for girls who otherwise would be out of school.
After the winter break, the students were enthusiastic about starting grade two. They were ready for the second year! And for me, speaking as a schoolteacher in a remote location, this project has significantly improved my financial condition. – Mrs. Roshan, teacher
Parents, community elders, members of village shuras (councils), and schoolteachers have been actively engaged with the project, offering support, insight, and participation in training workshops. While community involvement is essential for schools anywhere in the world, it is especially important in these mountainous villages where insecurity and cultural restrictions can pose substantial challenges.
There is no doubt that the Taliban restrictions have resulted in a tremendous loss of learning for the girls and women of Afghanistan, and the path forward is uncertain. Despite this, the demand for education among families is higher than ever. Our project currently serves 5,696 students, of whom 4,074 are girls; and our partners receive calls from villages throughout the region asking for educational support. Beyond the Taliban restrictions, the lack of education services has been exacerbated by poverty, a lack of government schools and qualified teachers , geographic barriers, and natural disasters.
Gul Naz’s father takes great pride in his daughter’s achievements. He reflects on the days before she was enrolled in school, and how joyous the change has been. “Before, the walls of our house were dark, but now they are bright and colorful with drawings, paintings, and calligraphy hanging on the walls. It cheers us up and gives us hope for a bright future,” he says. As for Gul Naz, despite her young age, she already is well aware of how deeply Afghan women value education. “We girls are so motivated to study and learn.”
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