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Taliban OKs Girls’ Classes: A Glimmer Of Hope For Afghanistan?

Taliban OKs Girls’ Classes: A Glimmer Of Hope For Afghanistan?

“150 Girls Poisoned For Attending School” and “Another 160 Girls, Teachers Poisoned At School In Afghanistan” were two recent Care2 headlines.

But now, in what will hopefully prove to be a shift from their restrictive attitude towards female education, the Taliban has approved a British-funded scheme to give English and computer classes to Afghan girls.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Mercy Corps, a charity based in Britain, is running vocational colleges for young Afghan women. The approximately $8 million program includes English and computer classes, and is expanding throughout the Helmand province.

That’s great news, but even more extraordinary is the fact that these lessons are being held with the knowledge and acceptance of the Taliban.

Since the 2001 toppling of the Taliban, which banned education for women and girls, females have returned to schools, and there are now more than a million Afghan girls attending schools throughout the country. But periodic attacks still occur against girls, teachers and their school buildings, sometimes resulting in school closures.

But Mercy Corps could change some of that, with roughly 1,000 girls over the age of 15 already participating in the program, and many more on the waiting list.

Does the Taliban’s acceptance of these programs indicate a softer stance on the education of women?

From The Telegraph:

“I’m not sure it’s a softer stance, I think you would call it a more politically aware stance about their previous shortcomings on education,” said David Haines, Mercy Corps’ Afghanistan director.

“That’s not to say they have become wildly liberal.

“I think they know that education is the will of the people. Every community we work in tells us that education is important to them.”

Being transparent about what the colleges are offering and using well-connected local staff have been the secrets of success so far, he said.

The Telegraph also points out that many families don’t want their daughters taught by men, so the more females learn, the more female teachers will be available.

We will wait to see how these college courses develop, but it is good to know that progress is being made in girls’ education in Afghanistan, however slight. Good luck to Mercy Corps!

Related Stories

150 Afghan Girls Poisoned For Attending School

Another 160 Girls, Teachers, Poisoned At School In Afghanistan

Taliban Publicly Executes Woman Accused Of Adultery

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Photo Credit: cordelia_persen

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42 comments

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7:26AM PDT on May 24, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:33AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

ArildW,I agree with you.I would not trust the Taliban as far as I could kick them! If they cared about girls and children,they would stop the trafficking of them to drug smugglers,by poverty stricken farmers who have had their opium crops destroyed on US and Allied orders!These poor people are left with debts to the drug smugglers and nothing with which to feed their families,so they are forced to hand over their daughters and sons,some as young as six!!!!These poor little mites just disappear,are probably traded for slavery and prostitution and the USA is complicit,along with its "allies"in this absolute outrage!!In Tasmania,opium poppies are grown legally for pharmaceutical products so why can't this happen in Afghanistan?!Yes,heroin is awful but the cynic in me wonders whether the Afghan crops are being destroyed because they are in competition with other "vested interests",some of US origin?!

4:23AM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Probably just political propaganda from the Taliban,when NATO leaves it's back to old times business again.

3:30AM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Education, especially of girls and women, is among the most effective weapons against religious dogma. Go girls!

7:10PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

if they could just make it look like it was the Taliban's idea in the first place.....especially if it appeared to them against the invader nations wishes?
maybe the Taliban will end up DEFENDING the right for their girls to be educated?

12:48AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

Educating young girls and women is one of the most effective ways to reduce over-reproduction, i.e., produce smaller families that are healthier and not as poor. There has been research done on this for years. About 150 years ago, English men did not want their women educated, especially not in college, because they would then choose meaningful careers over being baby factories and slaves to their husbands. There are a lot of people who still think this way, and not just in Middle Eastern countries.

5:09PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

thanks

3:52PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Do they know what happens when women get educated ? They'll want freedom of choices, equal pay and respect.

3:04PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

I would like to think it's a glimmer of hope. Wouldn't we all? But since they just very executed a woman in public over there, I think not.

2:16PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

I think I'd take a glimmer.

I really do fear the worst in Afghanistan when we leave.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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