The importance of education cannot be emphasised enough. It is the one thing in life that determines how one can live and pursue goals. Education positively transforms one’s quality of life and thus promotes an overall economic growth for the nation.

Education is an intrinsic right, however, access to it is quite scarce in many parts of the world. In contemporary society, education is used as a tool to empower girls and women, although, this remains a longstanding issue in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been left scarred following the rule of the Taliban. A structural inequality remains due to their strict ban on educating and schooling females.

Girls continue to suffer disadvantage and exclusion within educational systems throughout their lives. This disadvantage comes in both physical and social barriers. As a majority of Afghanistan’s population live in rural areas with little to no educational facilities, a physical obstacle is created that restricts their accessibility to education.

Even if education is physically accessible, family factors could prevent a girl from attending school when she is ordered to stay home and assist her mother or to work in the fields. Socio-economic factors can also extend to the prioritisation of boys’ education when there is not enough funding for schoolbooks, clothes or travel.

A girl receiving an education is often met with unfavourable reactions in Afghanistan. Traditional social norms dictate that females do not need to be educated, rather they need to be supported. This perspective reinforces a superiority complex for men and favours males in all aspects of Afghan life.

Afghan school girls at Mahboba’s Promise sponsored school.

Afghan school girls at Mahboba’s Promise sponsored school.

Afghan girls are met with a number of economic and social barriers that interrupt their engagement with education. Social responsibilities dictate that a young woman should stay home and look after the household in order to marry a husband that will then support her throughout her life. Women are not led in the direction of education or employment and are often denied this basic human right.

Social obligations that are pushed onto young Afghan women include child bearing, raising children and maintaining the home. Left to this destiny, they possess no sense of self, no individual need or drive when going through life.

Education provides the ability for independence. It allows women to feel a sense of empowerment in their life. Providing girls with an education allows them to construct a future for themselves outside the realms of social constraints and economic uncertainty.

Afghanistan is slowly accommodating to women in the education sector and, with a little push, we will begin to see an incredible transformation for Afghan women in the future.

Such a push can be seen in the efforts of the Australian-based aid and development agency, Mahboba’s Promise, an organisation that has been working to empower girls through education in Afghanistan for 15 years.

A recent development has been the introduction of a new category to Mahboba’s Promise Sponsorship Programme. Now for a small $25 per month they will be able to ensure that young girls, aged around six to ten will have the material support, in uniforms, books, stationery as well as secure transport, to start an education.

A chance at life that would otherwise be out of reach.

For more information about Mahboba’s Promise Girls’ Education sponsorship visit the website at http://www.mahbobaspromise.org