The self-help group (SHG) project in Qala Now, a suburb of Kabul, started four years ago. As a remote area within the city, located at the top of the mountain, Qala Now has poor roads and infrastructure and is very difficult to visit. Most of the families living there have returned from Iran, and most people lack jobs. Women and children in the community could not attend school, exacerbating the challenging economic situation.
Through the SHG, Operation Mercy staff provided trainings to the women in the group, including topics like gender and child protection. Wanting to learn more, the women expressed their desire to become literate. They had been waiting for several years for other organisations to implement literacy classes in their area, but none of the organisations were willing to start literacy classes because of the difficult location.
In January 2020, the SHG began literacy classes in Qala Now with the support of the Afghan federation of self-help groups, grown out of our previous projects. For the women participating, these classes are a dream come true.
Halima *, 32, said; “I lived in Bamyan Province when I was growing up, and there were no schools for girls; therefore, I could not attend school. I am very happy now that I can attend literacy classes.”
Gul Sum *, 22, said: “When I was a child, my father would not allow me to attend school. I always wanted to be literate; now I am married, and my husband allows me to attend the literacy classes. I am so excited!”
Robaba*, 20, said: “When I was a child, my mother had a baby every year. There were many sisters and brothers, and I had to help my mother with them because she could not take care of them by herself. I had no time for school during those days. Now my sisters and brothers are older, and I can attend the literacy classes. I am very happy!”