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When One’s Courage Gives the Strength to Keep Going...

"You can't be afraid of people, you have to be able to say 'no.'- Razia Jan

Afghanistan must be one of the most dangerous places to educate girls. It is so disheartening to read about water in girls’ schools being poisoned, or acid being thrown at schoolgirls while on their way to school just because they are “secondary to males” and should be staying home. What is so pathetic is that their very own government leader confirms that females are secondary to males. How can these girls’ situation be uplifted when the very leaders expected to protect and support them view them as non-essentials in society? These people seem to have forgotten that the only reason they are here on earth is because they were born from their mother...the same gender as the girls whose right to education they deliberately neglect to uphold.

It’s sad that such primitive thinking and belief of females being inferior to males continue to exist in many societies including developed and sophisticated countries. However, these young girls and their families find the strength and courage to keep going despite this seeming unending struggle for an education amidst the conflicts and threats from radicals and extremists. They found an inspiration in Razia Jan, founder of a girls' school outside Kabul called Zabuli Education Center.

Though the Deh'Subz community where Razia lives is not Taliban-controlled, she has nevertheless found it difficult to convince families to have their daughters educated. The stigma of girls being the inferior gender is so deeply-rooted in Afghanistan’s culture that making the change isn’t as simple as asking the parents to send their daughters to school. She has had her share of threats from men who did not want her to open the girls’ school but she met the challenge head on and opened her school. She took precautions by building a stone wall around the school, having the drinking water tested for poisoning and the air checked for any gas leaks.

Today the young girls who at 12 to 14 years old when they joined her school could not even read nor write their name, now can. It takes a lot of courage to achieve such a feat and Razia Jan has certainly done that. Truly, she is one person who can be such an inspiration to others.

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