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Afghanistan’s women: an education

February 2011

Women and girls in Afghanistan, famously banned from education or leaving the house alone under the Taliban, are still among the poorest and most marginalised human beings on the planet. 

While 43% of Afghan males are literate, less than 13% of females are.  Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world – approximately every half an hour, an Afghan woman dies in childbirth.

One in four Afghan children die before their fifth birthday, partly due to maternal ignorance as well as the poor health system.  An estimated one in three Afghan women is subject to emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

Christian Aid in Afghanistan is working to change these statistics. 

KareemaA number of our local partner organisations provide literacy classes for girls and women. 15-year-old Karmeen, from the remote Ghor province, begged her husband and her parents to let her attend literacy courses run by Christian Aid local partner organisation STARS.

Now she can read and write, she says: ‘I would like to become either the head of the women’s council in Ghor, or a parliamentarian. I want to help people – especially women – to know about their rights and how to protect them.’

STARS also trains women in midwifery skills, and teaches pregnant women and new mothers to take better care of themselves and their children.

Young mother Nazoko Ahengarani says: ‘I’d never heard about vaccinations before but STARS told me that you can get them for free, and that if you get them then your children will not get diseases like polio or measles or whooping cough. It’s good knowing my children are protected from these things now.’

Further content

• Afghanistan’s women, protecting their rights – read about how our partners fought to get child marriage made illegal under Afghan law.

• Afghan women photo gallery – meet people through images, stories of real lives changed.

• Silk: a solution to poverty? - listen to Florence Mutesasira of Christian Aid Ireland talk about how silkworm cultivation is helping Afghan women to make an income.

• Piecemeal or peace deal? - our indepth policy report looks at NATO, peace talks, and a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Christian Aid in Afghanistan - find out more about our vital work in the country.

What you can do

• Help us continue our support of partners in Afghanistan by donating.

• Take action to help eradicate poverty and injustice across the world.   


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