‘Will I be illiterate?’: In Taliban’s Afghanistan, girls fight back — attend secret classes, refuse to disappear | World News,The Indian Express

Women and girls were among the first sections of the Afghan population to be directly impacted as the Taliban returned to rule the country on August 15 last year as they issued a series of diktats.

Taleem dadaan, sawaab daddar. At a “secret school” in a Kabul neighbourhood, a girl writes out the Dari sentence on a whiteboard in the Persian script. “Give education, earn virtue.”

The underground school in suburban Kabul began in July this year, one of 50 set up by women’s rights activists, months after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan disallowed school for girls studying in classes 7 and above. In the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam, there is no sawaab in educating girls. While women have so far not been stopped from going to universities — men and women go on separate days — given the ban on schooling, there will be no new admissions.

In the class of 26 are women of varying ages, including a woman in her thirties, who had to drop out of school in her fourth grade during the first Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001, and her daughter, who should have started Class 8 in March this year but is now out of school — two generations of women who know first-hand what it is to have dreams cut short, what it is for women and girls to live under the Taliban’s boots.

“I could never go back to school after that. I come here because it is a chance to relearn how to write and read Dari and be able to do some sums, so that I can teach my children,” says the mother.

Her daughter says she finds the class too basic, but “I don’t want to forget what I have learnt in my school. Plus, I get to meet other girls here, like I used to in school. It is more fun than staying at home.” She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Another girl her age wants to be a nurse.


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Updated: 3 months ago
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