“If we enhance the power of knowledge to mothers we will enhance knowledgeable Society ” – Rahela Sidiqi 2019
Afghan mothers from all walks of life are saying no to illiteracy.
They have broken their silence and said that education is the key to solving multiple problems.
We, the Afghan mothers, want to see inclusion and meaningful engagement of ourselves and our daughters in the development of our country and to achieve that they must have access to education and knowledge.
Women from illiterate and rural communities, literate and urban communities, would like to be the key players for the future of Afghanistan as they are the other wing of society and 50% of population of the country.
Sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires the active participation and engagement of women. If Afghan mothers were educated their children may not have joined extremist groups. If the mothers and the daughters had had opportunity to be educated they could have been standing on their own feet; poverty may not have affected them, and family violence due to poverty could have been reduced.
Presently, the level of girls learning is low due either to poverty or discrimination.
A daughter from Kandahar said:
My father is old and my mother is old. My brother left us. I am the only educated daughter of my family and I am the breadwinner of my family. I hope my mother were educated to be able to take part of the burden from my shoulders.
We are over 50% of our population but opportunity for us is so little to be educated. As an educated young girl I would like to continue my fight to increase the number of educated women. It was the benefit of my higher education that I got job as the part time teacher and now lucky I am supporting Farkhunda Trust as the coordinator.
We do not want to be blind as no education means we are blind and who ever wants to take our hand and get us walk we will walk based on his/her choice. We do not know what are our legal rights due to luck of education. We are working over 12 hours a day without pay.
Shahnaz of Ulmarab in Mazar 1999
If I would have not been blind I could have contribute more to build my country. I am the leader of my community because I have little education if I would have had more education I could have lead the world.
Halima from Bamyan Dari Sadat 2002
The fight to eliminate violence against women will not be over until Afghan mothers and daughters’ education reaches a stage where, through gaining education and upgrading their knowledge, they are self-reliant and confident.
Village women from Ghazni say:
Why should we rely on our husbands or brothers or fathers to be the only breadwinners in the family? That is why we live in poverty as in most families mothers and daughters are not sufficiently educated to enter the labour market and access financial resources.
Early marriage happens because many mothers who are not educated cannot defend the rights of their daughters; the daughters themselves, due to cultural barriers and lack of education, are unable to analyse their situation and deal with it. Those girls who, through arranged marriages, marry at the age of 14/15, or even after finishing primary school, are never able to negotiate with their parents.
Although rare, there are brave enough mothers with no education who defend their daughters right to marriage. Shukria, Wardak mother, is one of those mothers. She said:
I am not educated but I knew the problem that if tomorrow my husband is not there I will face severe poverty with my children, as my elder child is girl.
I tried hard and fight with my husband to allow my daughter Shukria to be educated. When my husband died in suicide bomb it was Shukria who on one hand continued her education through a Farkhunda Trust scholarship and on the other hand worked as math teacher to feed myself and my children. I am hopeful that when Shukria gets her Bachelors degree and becomes lawyer, her income will be double.
The Taliban prevent girls from continuing their secondary school in those areas under their control.
Afghan women from of all walks of life want continues fight and campaign to bring the last mother and daughters to be educated.
Khadija Yawari, a rural urban mother and lecturer, said:
I would continue my fight and I would urge the international community to support our campaign to educate our daughters and us the Afghan mothers.” Momena Shaheer Head of Jaghuri women’s Shura, Joghuri District,
I will fight up to end of my life to continue our campaign to educate Afghan mothers and daughters. I have all confident that majority of our population will support our campaign of right to Afghan mothers and daughters education. – Nooria Safi, Executive member of Afghan National Education Collation
People’s life in Afghanistan will not be changed if women, as the half of the population, are uneducated. Please support our campaign for mothers and daughters right to education. – Nilofer Ibrahimi, Badakhshan MP
By Rahela Sidiqi,
Farkhunda Trust Founder & Director
Footnote: On November 13th, 2019 an Afghan Mothers Campaign under the auspices of Make Mothers Matter launches at LSE. For full details click HERE. or go to Mobilising for Sustainable Peace in Afghanistan