Education in Afghanistan is in crisis due to devastation from decades of war and more recently an intensification of conflict driven by the rise of IS insurgents and the resurgence of the Taliban. 3.7m (44%) of all school age children are out of school and the crisis is especially acute amongst girls who at the age of 15 and above have a literacy rate of just 18%, compared to 62% amongst boys. Unfortunately in urban areas demand for education is declining due to entrenched attitudes around child labour and child marriage. Furthermore, education infrastructure is insufficient including a lack of safe, accessible learning spaces and a lack of trained teachers with only 43% of teachers meeting minimum requirements. There is an immediate and substantial need for multiple initiatives for education in Afghanistan to counter the risk of an entire generation of uneducated children, particularly girls.
What We Do.
Over several years we have developed and refined a model of Community Based Education that prioritises community engagement and provides a holistic approach to increasing access to basic education. This includes targeting families, specifically women and mothers, and offering literacy classes, vocational training, and health and nutrition awareness sessions.
In the last three years, our Community Based Education Centres have provided education for 1,500 girls and boys who have been denied their right to a quality education. We have also helped over 1,400 women to access literacy, business, and vocational training. Together this approach has created a foundation for long-lasting and sustainable change, helping to break the cycle of conflict and poverty.
Our model is about doing far more than increasing access to education ensuring that we focus on the wider factors that influence a child’s educational opportunity and wellbeing. One such project includes supporting the large number of vulnerable children and their mothers who find themselves in conflict with the law in Afghanistan via reintegration and rehabilitation support. We are also working to support the children of refugees who are now returning to Afghanistan. Whilst estimates on the number of returnees vary, it is clear that there are well over half a million people, including children, now reintegrating themselves to society in Afghanistan. We are working to provide these children with support to cope with the massive amount of change they are experiencing in their lives.
In total, our various projects in Afghanistan will provide much needed support to over 17,000 children in the coming years.