Educating a girl, educating a nation

One girl’s dream is to become a teacher

By Ahmad Jan Nawzadi
Wasilla, on her way to school with her friend
UNICEF Afghanistan
22 February 2019

Kandahar Afghanistan, 22 Feb 2019 – On a rainy winter day12 year-old Wasilla was walking on a muddy and slippery road of Kotal Morcha village to get to her accelerated learning centre (ALC)  class.

 “I came from Shawlikot district in where we have a big house, large garden and lots of land; but we lacked security,” says Wasilla.    As the youngest child of the family, Wasilla’s father decided to leave their village and move to another village to ensure that Wasilla continues her education.

Wasilla’s father enrolled her in one of the UNICEF-supported accelerated learning centres.  He was keen on having his youngest daughter continue her education.

“When my father enrolled in class, I was excited that I didn’t sleep throughout the night,” says Wasilla.   “I like the class and I like my classmates.”

Wasilla is enrolled in Grade 3.  “ I would like to continue my education to become a teacher and to return back to my hometown and to enroll  girls in school,” says Wasilla with hope in her eyes. Wasilla hopes that one day she will have a better school environment, with desks, blackboards, and a nice building.  “I want to thank my parents for believing in my education and thanks to those supporting us to learn,” says Wasilla. 

Wasilla in her class
UNICEF Afghanistan

An inspiration to other students

Wasilla is the top student of her class.  She arrives to the ALC on time, and is always helping her peers to learn.

“She is a true inspiration to the whole class,” says Wasilla’s teacher.  “I hope all parents will do the same like Wasilla’s father – believe in the value of educating girls.”

After class, Wasilla goes home to complete her homework.  When she finishes her homework, she helps her mother in the daily house chores. 

“I am eager to sustain my high grades to continue my education,” says Wasilla.  “As soon as I come back from class, I study and if I have time, I help my mom.”

In 2018, UNICEF supported 320 community-based education classes, known as accelerated learning centers. In Kandahar, 58 of these centres are functional serving most vulnerable students. 

Most of the students attending these centres are girls. A recent report by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF showed that 3.7 million children are out-of-school, 60 per cent are girls.

To further support most vulnerable children like Wasilla, the Government of Afghanistan, Education and Cannot Wait and UNICEF launched a multi-year (2018 – 2021) education response programme. The new programme is aimed at supporting  the government’s policy on community based-education, and improving access to safe and reliable education for 500,000 most vulnerable children, including 325,000 girls.