Building on the solid experiences gained from its Women’s Learning Centre in Parwan province, the RET recently opened a similar but even bigger centre in Fayzabad, the provincial capital of Badakhshan in northern Afghanistan. In Parwan more than 240 women over the last three years received remedial classes to obtain the 6th grade certificate. The new Women’s Learning Centre, which opened thanks to the support of the German government, has designed its activities around the needs of the population of Badakhshan, one of the poorest provinces of the country.
The core of the activities will provide remedial classes to 200 young women per year, helping them recover the education lost due to displacement and/or traditional customs. By gaining the 6th grade certificate, these young women will have the literacy and numeracy skills to better handle their day-to-day economic situations, but they will also find many new opportunities opening up to them. For some the certificate will be the gateway to further professional and vocational studies; for others their improved educational level will lead directly to employment, such as in the district’s administrative services.
Two other modules will complement the 6th grade studies: a human rights module will provide the young women with a basic understanding of rights in general and of their own rights as women; basic health education will make the women aware of good health practices both for themselves and their families.
Whilst primarily focusing on the needs of the young women in the community, the centre will also provide advice and support for some women and their male relatives, particularly those with small businesses or those who have feasible business projects. In doing this, the RET is showing commitment not just to the individual but to the family unit, and indeed to the community as a whole.
The opening of Fayzabad’s centre marks the long-standing commitment of the RET to Afghan girls and young women, both as refugees in Pakistan and returnees in Afghanistan since 2002. War has a particularly negative effect on the female population and by providing education, skills and livelihood opportunities for these vulnerable Afghans, the RET is helping promote peace, stability and reconstruction within communities. The new centre will doubtless continue with RET’s valuable work at the local level, and thus contribute to the process of change in Afghanistan as a whole.