One of the most important and long-lasting ways we support women in Afghanistan is by funding their education.
We provide scholarships for women studying to be doctors, midwives and dentists. And we also sponsor young women studying law, economics or business studies. The women have had to overcome many hardships to get to university and continue to face difficulties while studying.
New scholarships for 2022
Despite the difficulties faced by women who want to study, in April 2022 we offered scholarships to 36 women for their medical studies in the spring semester – 25 study at Kateb University, with the other 11 at Khatam University, both in Kabul.
We received around 500 applications for scholarships, a remarkable sign of women’s determination to continue their education. Applicants are shortlisted according to their academic ability and their financial circumstances, and the final numbers selected are also determined by the number of university places available.
We will also carry out another round of interviews in August for students looking to start their studies in the autumn.
Disruption of studies
During the first half of 2021, studies were disrupted many times when the Covid pandemic closed the universities. Courses were run online but not all our sponsored students had or could afford laptops or internet connection.
Since the Taliban took over the country, private universities and colleges have stayed open although men and women have to be segregated. Government universities have reopened, but secondary schools have been closed to girls across Afghanistan.
The Taliban have closed women’s dormitories, forcing the women into shared private flats and houses. Many of our students were supporting themselves by teaching and tutoring part-time. That work has now disappeared and, to add to their hardship, food prices have doubled. We are now providing living allowances to support the students in this rapidly changed situation.