Did you see the story?
I, like many around the world, was horrified and saddened to see the Afghan girls and their teachers who had been attacked on their way to school by men with bottles of acid. The courage these girls and many others face every day to step outside their homes in search of a better future is inspirational. We, in our part of the world, could not begin to know that bravery as it takes so little for us to send our children or ourselves to school.
We went off to school at the tender age of five, with the only scary prospect being the exploration of something new and separation from our parents. Women fought for our right to be educated beyond the expectations of only learning proper “quilting techniques” and “how to be a lady”. I for one am truly thankful, but even those women after many years of lobbying did not endure what these girls and women do.
Some girls in Afghanistan are quite a bit older, far past the age of five and are just starting their basics of education. Some were (and many still are) not able to even step foot outside their door as going beyond the confines of their home was not permitted. Many were expected to work at home, take care of the sick or marry early, never to receive an education. Currently in Afghanistan, “only 35 percent of the children enrolled in schools are girls, according to CARE, an international humanitarian agency.” This may not seem very good but it is better than it was.
For the few that do attend school, I have read interviews where they speak about their excitement of meeting other girls outside of their own family members and at the prospect of learning to read, write and learn as much as they can. Some even take an accelerated learning class. In part I would think, to get to the level they should have been at their age, but I suspect it may be practical to get in as much learning just in case the opportunity is taken away again. Can you even imagine how this improves their self esteem!
My heart goes out to those girls and all the women of the world who struggle to do that which we take for granted. I feel helpless not knowing what to do for all of them. I do know that they are in my heart and that I admire every family who believed it was in their best interest to educate both their sons and daughters. I hold hope for each of those girls and women, that they will rise above gender discrimination and misogyny to embrace their right to life and improve the rights of future generations. I wish for them happiness in whatever form that takes, as it will be their decision and theirs alone. I want them to know… “I’m thinking of you today.”