Fearless Females in Afghanistan’s Schools

 

The Mirwais School for Girls was built in 2003 by funds from the Japanese government. The school now has about 1,300 students, and despite its 40 classrooms must have tents to compensate for the overflow of students.

When taking on the challenge of becoming a part of the School Supplies for Afghan Chidlren drive as part of my USF Honors College Major Works and Major Issues course, I knew I’d be educated on more than just the goals of the charity and how to use a Twitter account. It’s embarrassing to admit how minuscule my knowledge of Afghanistan’s troubles was. One of the most saddening aspects of Afghanistan’s struggling education is the constant oppression educated females by the Taliban and other religious extremists. I was horrified when Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple spoke of Taliban members burning down schools that taught females, placing bounties on the heads of female teachers and spraying acid in the faces of girls as they quietly walked to school.

I was especially touched by a New York Times online article from January 2009 discussing an attack on female students walking to their all girl school in Kandahar. The men on motorcycles pulled down the girls’ burqas and sprayed acid in the face of eleven girls and four teachers while on their way to school. Shamsia, pictured here, and her sister were attacked as they were walking to the Mirwais School for Girls. Shamsia’s injuries were so bad she had to be sent abroad to be treated, will forever have scars and now has blurry vision. Despite the attacks and continuing threats from Taliban members Shamsia along with most of the females of the school bravely return to school each day to receive the best education they can.

 

Shamsia seen here in class a couple months after the brutal attacks. Photo courtesy of Dunfang Dennis of The New York Times

This is only one attack of many which occur throughout Afghanistan as more females work to gain an education they deserve just as much as any male. When translated, the Quran does not actually state anywhere that it is against Islamic law to educate women even though its argued by those who oppose female education that the Quran says women are not allowed to be educated. It’s hard for the populous to even argue and rally against such oppression when more than half the country is incapable of reading the Quran. My Major Works and Issues Class has set the goal of 120 boxes of school supplies to be sent over to Afghanistan to help boys and girls alike receive a better education; an equal education which all children deserve. The task of trying to encourage school supplies from peers and family members seemed so daunting but I’ve been surprised by how supportive people are.

 

Justin's drop off site at the Kumon Learning Center in Brandon.

So far friends have showed interest in donating supplies along with great clubs/organizations such as the Feminist Student Alliance. The the student Senator representing USF College of Education Senate said they’d be willing to let students from our class come in and talk about the purpose of the school drive in front of the entire Student Government and why they should donate. Even some awesome students from our rival school University of Florida are getting involved and looking in to the possibility of donating out-dated athletics bags. I wanted to hit myself upside the head when a fellow classmate, Justin Doromal, set up a box at a Kumon Learning Center where he worked and successfully got the parents and students involved with donating supplies. This whole time my twin sister has been working at a Kumon Learning Center (a different one, I checked) and it never occurred to me to utilize the students there. So sorry Justin but I’m probably going to copy you! It’s no easy task getting students to

Justin's trunk full of donated school supplies from the Kumon Learning Center.

commit to a school supply drive. As college students we always feel like there just isn’t enough time to add anything else to the extensive to-do list. However, when pushed by morals, and your heart swells with sympathy for children in desperate conditions what seems like another time-consuming task becomes a cause with a great purpose.

 

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One Response to Fearless Females in Afghanistan’s Schools

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