One of the most important and long-lasting ways we support women in Afghanistan is by funding their education.
We sponsor young women studying law, economics or business studies at the Gawharshad Institute in Kabul. The women have had to overcome many hardships to get to university and continue to face difficulties while studying. While some might have relatives they can stay with, many rent a shared room in a family house – often, five or six students share one room that they eat, cook, study and sleep in.
Each year we fund around 40 scholarships costing an average of £275 a year.
These students’ stories are fairly typical of the difficulties that the women face.
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 the recent forced repatriation of refugees. She lives with her brother and his wife but he is now unable to support them after being injured by a terrorist bomb. 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 detemination: “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.”