Private centre offers free education to 2,000 girls in Kabul

By Hamza

Students are seen in a class at Ekhlas Education Centre in Kabul November 20. [Hamza/Salaam Times]

Students are seen in a class at Ekhlas Education Centre in Kabul November 20. [Hamza/Salaam Times]

KABUL -- A private education centre has been providing free learning opportunities for over 2,000 girls in Kabul for almost a year.

The centre was founded two years ago.

Ekhlas Education Centre offers educational opportunities for girls who have been deprived of their right to study in Afghanistan, said Hasib Malyar, director of the centre.

The centre is "providing free education for 2,000 girls who are prohibited from continuing their schooling", he said. "Our goal is to support Afghan girls' education."

"While Afghans' economic condition started to deteriorate following last year's political developments in Afghanistan, schools for girls beyond sixth grade were also closed."

"Since I was previously supporting youth education in collaboration with my family and friends, I decided to offer the opportunity for girls beyond grade six to return to school and continue their education," Malyar said.

"There are 16 teachers, 10 of whom are girls and women, who work at the centre. They teach school curriculum, Kankor [university entrance exam] preparation, English language, the holy Koran and computer literacy," said Malyar.

"I have rented two buildings in the Kart-e-Naw and Macrorayan neighbourhoods, and am paying 50,000 AFN [$581] in monthly rent for each out of my pocket," he said, adding that students are studying full time at both centres.

"So far, a number of friends residing abroad have contributed funds for purchasing books, and my father has rented out his personal apartment for 60,000 AFN [$698] monthly so that I can use that income to meet the daily expenses of the education centre," he said.

"My father and friends are likely to continue providing support to my education centre for the next three months," he said. "The demand is growing for me to establish centres in other parts of Kabul and provide free education."

"Because people are poor and cannot afford to pay, I urge donors and relief organisations to extend their support and provide me with financial assistance," Malyar said.

Education a basic human, Islamic right

Schoolgirls expressed gratitude for the establishment of the free education centres, saying education is a basic human and Islamic right.

"I was in grade 11 when the schools closed for girls beyond grade six," said Lima Ibrahimi, 16, who now studies at Ekhlas. "I was deprived of learning for several months, and while staying at home I suffered psychological problems."

"Fortunately, it has been eight months since I started my classes for free," she said. "I am studying school subjects and take part in classes to prepare for the Kankor. I now feel very happy and hopeful about my future."

"I welcome the establishment of an education centre like the one I am attending," she added.

Marzia Asghari, 15, another student at the centre, said she started attending classes at the centre six months ago.

"I thank those who helped establish the centre," she said.

"I urge the international community to persuade those who have closed schools and deprived girls of their right to education to reopen schools."

Masuda Maliki, a ninth grader, also started studying at the centre six months ago.

"It has been a year and a half since I and millions of other girl students above sixth grade have been out of school, and we do not know what our future will be like," she said.

"We have repeatedly heard promises that schools will reopen, but unfortunately, no practical step has been taken to deliver on the promise," she said.

"Education is a human and Islamic right of Afghan women and girls," Masuda said. "Furthermore, Islam has obligated men and women to seek education. No one can violate girls' and women's human and Islamic right to education."

No limitations for girls' progress

"Closing schools for girls has no precedent in any religion or belief," said Sheikh Jaffar Sadiqi, a religious scholar in Kabul.

"Islam does not envision any limitations for girls' and women's education," he said. "There are no verses in the holy Koran or Hadith from the Prophet Mohammad that say only men can seek education and knowledge."

"Women and men have equal rights to education," said Sadiqi.

Qais Azizi has been working as a teacher at various learning centres for the past 10 years and is now volunteering at Ekhlas.

"It has now been almost one year since I started ... teaching English to girls for two hours daily in the centre," he said.

"With support from the international community, Afghans made great progress and achieved historical gains in many areas including education for 20 years."

"We call on the international community to continue its support of the Afghan people and spare no efforts in reopening girls' schools," Azizi said. "It should not let the two-decade-long success of Afghan girls and women disappear and shouldn't let them go backward."

"Today, I would have been in my first year at the university if schools had not been closed. I would have achieved my dreams," Marwa Sadat, 18, a student at the centre, said.

"I urge the international community to support Afghan girls and women as it did for 20 years," she said. "It should stop those who are determined to keep Afghan girls and women in ignorance and darkness."

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If we had women like Haseeb Maliar in Afghanistan, now all over Afghanistan our girls, who are our children, would not be left uneducated. I respectfully request all those Afghans who live abroad to help the private educational center Ikhlas, so that the gates of the educational center not get closed for our children. There was no free education center in the whole area of Karte Naw and Ahmad Shah Baba Mina during the past years, but there were many free centers in the whole area of west Kabul and north of Kabul. We should provide financial support to Maliar's work so that Maliar can build other educational centers in other parts of Kabul, and our children can benefit from education. Dear Maliar, try to attract the attention of foreign organizations. Our businessmen should visit this Ikhlas training center closely, and then help with Ikhlas training center, which is a continious charity. Maliar should try hard not to let gate of this educational center get closed for our children. We are proud of women like you. Other women, if they have this ability, should try to provide education for at least 100 students. Maliar, this good action of yours is highly commendable. Through Salam Times newspaper, I would tell Haseeb Maliar that you try your best to continue your work as our girls need educators like you.


As a result of education, the nations were taken out of hardships. As a result of education, the universe was conquered by humans. One went to the moon; another one went to Mars, a third one took control of space, and someone occupied the earth. Lately, I heard on social networks that the Chinese made an artificial sun. How did all these things happen? Obviously, because of education. The first verse of the Qur'an is Iqra (read). Our Afghans in the 21st century are arguing about whether to educate the next generation or not. There is no reason to prohibit education in the blessed religion of Islam, but Islam encourages people to learn. How long and where will our misfortune be? With such actions, we are killing generations; we are killing them, taking them from competing in the world and taking them from living a good life. Afghans need to prepare themselves for the new era. We are grateful for the services that the Ikhlas center provides in education. We request the whole world, especially the Islamic world, to convince our leaders and free us from the punishment of not doing education. Otherwise, we will be the killers of future generations.


It is a place of happiness that such centers are functioning and work is going on for Afghanistan. Still, one gets sad to see only two thousand women from among millions of women have been given the opportunity to study, and we are happy about that. I wish the schools were open. Girls were allowed to study like boys. And they were not as desperate as they are now, but I have a point about your report, and that is that you (Salaam Times Agency) and your reporter in Kabul, by publishing this report, which you have published now, can turn the life of these girls dark again. There have been incidents in the past where schools and educational centers were operating secretly. Still, when they were reported to the media, these centers were closed by the Islamic Emirate. I am not saying that Salaam Times has published any bad news. This is good news, but the doors of this educational center can be closed for these girls. The rest is up to you.


This is good news, but I have a concern. On the one hand, such news encourages others to create educational programs for young people, but on the other hand, such news can raise danger too. For example, some biased people and spies of Pakistan's intelligence in the Mullahs government. If they know that such private education programs benefit Afghans, they will stop them. You know that armed groups supported by Pakistani intelligence have been destroying schools in Afghanistan for the past 40 years. They tell the militants that if anyone goes to school, he becomes an infidel. This is why armed groups burn schools and kill teachers, but now that the government is in their hands, they have closed, and if this process continues, boys' schools may also be closed in the near future. Therefore, I request Salaam Times and other media not overexpose of such educational programs. Otherwise, their progress will be prevented. And Afghan youths and girls will all remain uneducated. When we speak negatively about the government of the Mullahs, it does not mean that the governments of the past years under the influence of the Northern Alliance were better; they were all corrupt. Even in schools, they did extensive corruption and had imaginary teachers and imaginary schools that paved the way for administrative corruption and embezzlement.