Let there be dreams – Rubina waits to go back to school

Let there be dreams – Rubina waits to go back to school

Rubina, the only sister of her three brothers, is a seventh-grade student, living in a small village in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. Rubina has been a regular student in one of the local schools[1] and is in fact a high- achiever who was recently promoted to Grade 7. “I love to study and I am also my class teacher’s favourite student,” shared Rubina.

Much to Rubina’s dismay, she has been unable to continue her education due to the closure of schools since the latest take-over in Afghanistan. A statement issued ahead of Afghan schools reopening claimed, “All male teachers and students should attend their educational institutions.”

Secondary schools in Afghanistan are primarily for students aged between 13 to 18 years, and most are strictly segregated. The new government has allowed boys in classes 6 to 12 to attend school and men teachers to resume teaching across Afghanistan, but have not said when girls could return[2].

“I am so worried,” Rubina expressed, “I miss seeing my school friends. I miss playing games and learning with them. At home, I spend most of my time doing nothing extraordinary. I am bored and desperately want to go back to school.”

Rubina’s brothers, who are primary school students, tgo to school but have shared that they are now scared of going to school. Most of their friends have not returned to school as their parents are scared of sending their children to schools given the uncertain situation.

Aspiring to be a lawyer or a teacher one day, Rubina is fearless and is sure about continuing her studies as soon as her school reopens. She prays that the government will soon allow girls to return to school, and that she will be able to see her classmates and learn alongside them, like they did before the schools had shut down.

Most educational institutions across Afghanistan remained closed for more than a month after the new regime took over. Girl students of primary schools, or up to Grade 6, and those enrolled in private schools and universities, have started attending classes however public high schools for girls have largely remained closed in Afghanistan[3]

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is regularly advocating with all relevant stakeholders, including members of the new Afghan government, international organisations, and local partners to reopen secondary schools for girls to continue to funding for girls’ education. Many girls like Rubina will not be able to pursue their dreams of a. better future or that of becoming a lawyer, doctor, teacher, engineer, nurse, writer and other professional, unless they receive the necessary support and schools start operation as normal. Education is the right of every child and access to it must not be hindered by any one or any situation.

[1] Supported by the Girls Education project implemented by Community World Service Asia and funded by Act for Peace and PWS&D

[2] 18/09/2021 –https://www.euronews.com/2021/09/18/taliban-reopens-schools-in-afghanistan-for-boys-only-and-repurposes-women-s-affairs-minist

[3] Except Mazar, Jawzjan and Kunduz provinces, students of 7th to 12th grade in 31 other provinces are not allowed to go to school.