January 2012 - Afghanistan
Jamila, can you tell us something about how the Community Learning Centre is contributing to peace in Afghanistan?
In my point of view, the fact that it has been three years now that we have been educating more than hundred women in the center is already a huge achievement towards a more peaceful coexistence. As you know, these women have had many problems in their lives previously – for example with their husbands and other family members who prevented them from studying, but also because they did not know about their rights. The formation of the centre has not only enabled these women to become literate, but has also fostered better, more peaceful relations with their families and the communities. Through the several meetings and discussions the RET has held with their families, the tensions between the family members have decreased and the male family members have come to understand the importance of their women being educated. They now send them to the centre without problems and restrictions. In addition to fostering more equal and peaceful relations among family members and the community, the centre has recently started to implement peace education, complementing the more “classical” subjects such as numeracy, literacy or computer. Finally, the centre has multiple community activities, helping to spread peace in the community and the society at large.
Are there other reasons why you think that the Community Learning Centre is important?
As you know, most of the illiterate population in Afghanistan is women. There is no possibility for adult or “over-aged” women to study in the official schools of the Ministry of Education. So, such Community Learning Centres are urgently needed and the presence of such a centre is crucial. As already said, apart from providing these “over-aged” women the possibility to take up studies again, the centre is important to protect and promote the rights of the women and prevent violence against them. At a more personal level, the centre allows the women to make friends and share their feelings and problems with each other. From a pragmatic point of view, their female teachers who are specifically trained by the RET, help to establish amongst their female students enough of a foundation to solve their economical problems.
How do you feel about working in the Community Learning Centre?
I feel very happy and proud that I work in this centre through which I can help these women who had been away from education for years and years throughout the war and conflict. It is a very good feeling to see them and their life situation improving day by day and also to feel that I am contributing every day to peace in Afghanistan. We have a proverb in Afghanistan “drop by drop, a river is formed”. This is how I see the achievements of the centre and my work in the center. Step by step, we are bringing about lasting changes. I am grateful to the RET for all its support”.