Banner View: Hopeful future for girls’ education in Afghanistan

by: Amarra Ghani, campus voice editor

With terrorists ruling the majority of Afghanistan, education for young girls seemed almost impossible.

That is, until Razia Jan took control of the situation.

Jan, the founder of a girls’ school outside of Kabul, was recently given the CNN Heroes Award, an annual television special created by CNN to highlight individuals who make an extraordinary effort for humanitarian projects.

In an interview with CNN, Jan explained the conditions young girls go through on a daily basis on their way to school.

“Every day, you hear that somebody’s thrown acid at a girl’s face or they poison their water,” she told CNN.

The hardships these girls face are truly unfortunate; to have women like Jan risk their lives in order to better the lives of others should be given tremendous attention. It is not every day you see people restoring faith in humanity.

Disregarding the violence in Afghanistan, Jan continues to make breakthroughs in her work in her two story, 14-room building in Zabuli Education Center where 354 girls are receiving a free education.

Americans are granted a somewhat free education, paid through taxes, until one graduates high school. A free American education gets you to and from school with the help of a yellow school bus and a provided free lunch if you meet the standards of a low income family.

A free education according to an Afghan girl might be risking her life on the way to, from and even during school. It would also include being careful from which water fountain you drink from because the water might have been poisoned the night before.

Though Zabuli Education Center region is not controlled by the Taliban, she has be to be extra careful for the safety of the students.

She told CNN in order to shield the students from attacks, she built a stonewall to surround the school. She also uses the guards, staff and principal as human guinea pigs.

“The principal and the guard, they test the water every day,” Jan said. “They will drink from the well. If it’s OK, they’ll wait, then they’ll fill the coolers and bring it into the classroom.”

She also makes the guards arrive earlier in the mornings to check for any gas or poison that might have been leaked inside the classrooms. An entire procedure is done before the school session for the day.

People like Jan have ambition and create a hope for humanity.

Ambition for humanity seems almost non-existant because of the horror stories the public is bombarded with.

The news and media forces us to believe people like Jan are not real. They are out there, and they are doing not just good but extraordinary things for the greater good.

The women and children of Afghanistan are brutally, tortured both mentally and psychically. It  is hard to understand a level of evil we as Americans do not see.

While Jan’s life in America was fulfilling and enriching, her dream for the future of Afghanistan and educating girls became her focus.

In 2004, she started to find a region in Afghanistan to build a school, and in 2005 she started to fundraise through her Massachusetts-based nonprofit, “Razia’s Ray of Hope.”

The school is entirely free, which in most third world countries is hard to maintain. The fees for the school are paid for through donations to her nonprofit; the cost of student is $300 for an entire year.

In an interview with CNN, Jan takes no money for her work with the school. She said                                     the education her students receive will benefit not only future generations of Afghan women but the country as a whole.

“My school is very small. It’s nothing big. But for this to start here, I think it’s like a fire. And I think it will grow,” she said to CNN.

“I hope that one day these girls will come back and teach because I’m not going to be there all my life. I want to make this school something that will last 100 years from now.”

 

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