Girl’s Education: Breaking the cycle of conflict and poverty

Adela in class at Charbagh-E-Safa Girls High School in Jalalabad.

Adela in class at Charbagh-E-Safa Girls High School in Jalalabad.

Afghanistan is one of the hardest places in the world to be educated if you are a girl. Thirty years of chronic instability and conflict, and the almost   complete lack of educational opportunities for children under the Taliban, have had a dramatic impact on children’s education and wellbeing in Afghanistan.

But things are changing. Afghan women and local communities are confronting injustice all over the country and education is  proving to be the key to a better future.

Through this year’s Christmas Bowl appeal, Act for Peace, the International aid agency of the National  Council of Churches in Australia, is working with its local partner, Church World Service— Pakistan/Afghanistan, to confront this injustice in  Afghanistan.

Nine-year-old Adela is part of this program. Without an education, Adela would face a future scarred by poverty and violence. Without schooling, she would expect to be married young, to have more children and to find it harder to make a living. It’s likely she wouldn’t know her basic rights and be excluded from decision making in her own home and in her community. The most tragic thing is that she could expect to watch her children fall into the same vicious cycle.

Fortunately, Adela has a brighter future ahead of her.

Going to school means that when she grows up, Adela will have the power to earn a decent living and support herself and her family. She’ll be able to stand-up to discrimination and make decisions about her own body. She’ll know her rights, and have the confidence to confront injustice and help build a more peaceful society.

Education confronts injustice head-on and is giving girls in Afghanistan the opportunity to escape a future of conflict and poverty. This year Act for Peace plans to reach 14 more schools and empower nearly 3000 more girls like Adela to transform their futures.

That’s the greatest Christmas present anyone could give.

To give, please free-call 1800 025 101, visit http://www.actforpeace.org.au/christmasbowl, pick up a Christmas Bowl  envelope at your church or write to Locked Bag 199 QVB NSW 1230.

Karen McGrath

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