“Before I came to the centre, I couldn’t read the shop signs. If I needed some medicines, I didn’t know where to get them.”

Surya, aged 47, comes from the local Chilsitoon community in Afghanistan. She has been attending classes with our partner, Afghan Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC), for one year, starting with a level 1 basic education course to teach her to read and write.

AWRC class“Before I came to the centre, I didn’t know anything – I couldn’t read the shop signs and if I needed some medicines, I didn’t know where to go to get them. Now I can buy medicines and my family is very happy I am learning to read.”

When Surya was young, girls could not go to school and she was prevented from attending by her family. Her life consisted of staying at home and taking care of her 8 children.  

“At the centre, I have not only learned about literacy, but has also about health issues (such as Hepatitis B and blood pressure) and my rights. Now I have learned to read, I am teaching my four year old daughter to read the alphabet and to count.  I can now also read the Koran.”

“I lived for 7 years in Iran as a refugee and when I returned to Afghanistan, I found big changes to my way of life.”  

In Afghanistan, there is less social mobility and it is more difficult for women to leave their houses. Women also know less about their rights. In addition, there is a desperate need for peace in Afghanistan.

"There have been some developments and in the past three or four years, it is easier for women to come out from their houses. I hope for more improvements in Afghanistan – for better employment and more jobs. I hope factories will be built and my family members can find work. Even though many women are illiterate, they shouldn’t sit at home. They can produce embroidery and use their other talents."

AWRC also offers Surya social support and when attending classes she is also able to meet other women and to share their similar problems and issues. After attending the Women in Islam training provided by AWRC, she encouraged other women from her community to come and learn their rights.  

“We didn’t know we had the right to come out of home, or that we have money, divorce and inheritance entitlements. I didn’t know before that men and women’s rights are equal. I didn’t know that I could come to the centre and that women could access education.”

Most important to Surya was Womankind’s support of the centre to enable other girls and women to attend in the future – “Thank you,” she said.

You can support more women like Surya in Afghanistan to access education by making a donation today. 

  • Afghan Women Resource Centre (AWRC)

    Asia, Afghanistan
    AWRC strives to help women improve their economic and social well-being and enables them to become active in decision-making processes. They encourage them to stand up for their rights and be active and confident members within their families and communities.