Supporting young women through university

Suspension of higher education

Following the ‘supsension’ of higher education for women in Afghanistan, we are no longer able to offer scholarships.

One of the most important and long-lasting ways we supported women in Afghanistan was by funding their education.

As well as medical students, we sponsored young women studying law, economics or business studies at the Gawharshad Institute in Kabul.

The women had to overcome many hardships to get to university and continued to face difficulties while studying. While some had relatives they could stay with, many rented a shared room in a family house – often, five or six students shared one room that they eat, cook, study and sleep in.

Each year we funded around 40 scholarships costing an average of £275 a year.

These stories by students who benefited from an LNF scholarship are fairly typical of the difficulties faced by the women we sponsored.

Sakina has lived for most of her life in Pakistan. Her father was killed in a car crash when she was 13, her mother died when she was 18. Her remaining family had to move back to Afghanistan as part of a forced repatriation of refugees.

She lives with her brother and his wife but he is now unable to support them after being injured in a bomb explosion. The LNF scholarship at Gawharshad is allowing her the opportunity to make progress from her tragedies.

Jamila comes from a family of eight, her mother is seriously ill and her father is a high school teacher in an outlying province. Fighting and insecurity forced them to abandon their home for a safer area where more than half of her father’s £117 monthly wage goes on rent.

Without an LNF scholarship she couldn’t have continued her education.

Sesiqa’s family of 10 rely on her mother working from home as a dressmaker, as her father is elderly and sick. As the eldest daughter, Sediqa worked alongside her mother to support the family but she was determined to complete her education and travelled to Kabul.

She explains her determination: “I have had a lot of domestic problems because my parents weren’t pleased about my studies and they don’t want me to carry on, moreover they are not able to pay my fees. But I am ready to tolerate any difficulties in order to reach my goals.”