One girl’s passion becomes means of empowerment for girls

Basirya helps teach out-of-school girls, at a UNICEF-supported accelerating learning centre (ALC) in Kandahar

By Ahmad Jan Nawzadi
Basriya in the classroom
UNICEF Afghanistan/2018/Isahaq
11 October 2018

Kandahar, Afghanistan, 11 October 2018 – 17-year old Basirya helps teach out-of-school girls, at a UNICEF-supported accelerating learning centre (ALC) in  Kandahar.  

“After school, I help teach 18 girls, who have missed out on education, at this centre,” says Basirya.  “I want these girls to learn how to read and write and be able to enroll into formal education.”

As a 10th grade student, Basirya understands the meaning of girls’ empowerment.  She attends class in the morning, and she is determined to teach other girls in the afternoon.  

“Every morning, as I am going to school, I see girls playing in the street, and this was something I wanted to change,” says Basirya.    “I was thinking about their dark future, early marriage, early motherhood and family violence.”

Setting her plans in motion, Basirya approached the girls playing casually, and asked them the reason for not being in school.

“Some girls said that their parents did not allow them to go to school, while others felt they were too old to enroll in school,” says Basirya.  “One thing they had in common – they all wanted to be back in school learning.”

Basriya in the classroom
UNICEF Afghanistan/2018/Isahaq

Determined to teach vulnerable girls

With determination and full of passion,  Basirya consulted with her family and senior community members and was determined to find a place to host the accelerated learning centre.  With the support of her father, the community and UNICEF, she established a community-based education class, where she registered all girls who missed out on their education.

“I love my class and I love my teacher, she is looking after each one of us,” says 12-year old Mahoboba attending the class. “If anyone of us misses the class on any given day, then teacher Basirya comes looking for us, just to make sure everything is ok.”

According to UNICEF, there are 3.7 million children who are out of school, 60 per cent of them are girls.    To ensure that children learn, especially girls, UNICEF has established 182 community based education classes, known as accelerated learning centres.  About 52 of these classes are based in the city of Kandahar, and 130 classes are in the surrounding districts. Most of the students attending these classes are girls.

The community based education is a joint effort by UNICEF and the community. The community provides class, students and teachers, while UNICEF provides learning materials and support, with thanks to the Government of the Republic of Korea.

The community based education centre where Basirya teaches.
UNICEF Afghanistan/2018/Isahaq

“Community-based education is the best solution for out-of-school children who have missed out on their schooling due to the crisis, limited access to services, displacement and poverty,” says  Mohammad Tahir Sarwari, Education Specialist at UNICEF.  “Education is key in putting an end to child marriage and poverty, and it is the cornerstone for building the future of Afghanistan.”