By Yasmine Sherif
NEW YORK, Sep 19 2023 (IPS-Partners)
Today, we mark the second anniversary of the ban on secondary school girls’ education in Afghanistan and join the world in calling for it to be lifted now.
Denying education to girls is a violation of universal human rights. The de facto authorities can do the right thing for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan by ensuring that every girl in Afghanistan can access quality education and contribute to rebuilding their war-torn country.
In all, 80% of school-aged Afghan girls are currently out of school – that’s 2.5 million girls denied their right to the safety, protection and opportunity of education – their inherent human right.
As the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) stands in solidarity with all girls in Afghanistan who are courageously raising their voices for their right to education.
Throughout the year, we will continue to highlight their call through our ongoing #AfghanGirlsVoices global campaign, launched by The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group; ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif; and ECW Global Champion Somaya Faruqi.
The #AfghanGirlsVoices campaign features the inspiring, resilient and heart-breaking testimonies of Afghan adolescent girls whose lives have been upended by the ban on their education.
As one girl says, “I see a day when every Afghan girl will have the wings to soar, breaking free from the chains of ignorance and prejudice.” Afghan girls and young women love their country and want to help rebuild it together with their fathers and brothers.
ECW’s Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Afghanistan aims to support more than 250,000 children and adolescents across some of the most remote and underserved areas of the country. The programme delivers community-based education, organised at the local level with support from local communities, and is critical to keep education going. Girls account for well over half of all the children and adolescents reached through this investment.
ECW also calls for urgent additional funding from government donors, the private sector, philanthropic foundations and high-net-worth individuals to fill the US$30 million funding gap to fully implement this programme, and the US$670 million required to fully finance the results under our new 2023-2026 Strategic Plan, which will reach 20 million crisis-impacted children worldwide over the next three years.
Courageous girls are raising their voices across Afghanistan and world leaders must stand with them to support Afghanistan and our collective humanity. “They think they can bury us in the shadows, but little do they know, we are seeds of resilience, ready to bloom and flourish,” says one inspiring girl in the #AfghanGirlsVoices campaign.
Together, we must ensure that – through education – every girl in Afghanistan can emerge from the shadows so they can contribute to a brighter future which every Afghan so deserves.
ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif Statement on the Second Anniversary of the Ban on Secondary School Girls’ Education in Afghanistan