HERAT -- Amid the restrictions on schooling and the closure of schools and universities for girls in Afghanistan, some are pursuing their education online.
A number of the online classes, which have recently increased in number, are held within Afghanistan, while the rest are managed from other countries, particularly the United States.
Girls may apply to enroll in online classes for free and take lessons on WhatsApp, Zoom and a few other messaging apps.
The Sowzan Telaiee (Golden Needle) online school was established by Humaira Qaderi, who resides in the United States, and has provided education to dozens of girls in Afghanistan to date.
Qaderi, who has a doctorate in Dari literature, teaches girls in different fields, especially creative writing and psychology.
The Sowzan Telaiee online school was launched in September 2021, following the closure of universities for Afghan girls, said Qaderi, who added that the number of students at her online school has recently increased.
"There are currently 180 girls taking online classes," she said. "We teach online every day in different subjects, and between 20 and 25 female students attend each class."
"Our students are from all over Afghanistan and even from remote villages. They have a lot of motivation and are working hard to pursue their education," she added.
Qaderi teaches story writing and memoir writing to Afghan girls so that they can write about "the dark and bitter moments" they are experiencing and pass them on to the next generation, she said.
Sodaba Mohmand, 21, is one of the students of the online school. She was a third-year sociology student at Herat University before the restrictions on girls' education were enforced.
After attending online classes for more than a month, she said she was happy that she could study online despite the challenging situation in Afghanistan.
"I have become hopeful and motivated to study again ever since I started attending the online school. The virtual classes have substituted for university classes to some extent," she said.
"I am determined to build my knowledge and capacity. When I study along with other girls in online classes, I forget about being confined at home and having problems. Gender restrictions cannot stop us from acquiring knowledge and making progress," said Mohmand.
Creating hope and aspiration
Girls who have been prohibited from going to schools and universities say online classes have given them motivation and hope to continue studying.
Mastora Mohajir, 21, is a fourth-year student at Herat University's faculty of psychology, and she has been joining online classes for a month.
She has been taking English, story writing and psychology classes online.
"Online classes have created an opportunity for us to become hopeful, study and build our wisdom and capacities. After the ban on girls' education at universities, I completely lost motivation and hope," she added.
"So many obstacles have been created to prevent girls' advancement. But we women and girls are sure that gaining knowledge is the only way to save us from darkness, and online classes have provided us with the means to fight the restrictions," said Mohajir.
Dozens of girls from all over Afghanistan participate in online classes and find the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills, and these classes have inspired them and given them hope, she said.
Atifa Qurbani, 19, a first-year student at Herat University's faculty of computer sciences, said she has been taking online classes for two months.
"I participate in online classes every day and study computer sciences, English and story writing. The courses have motivated me to continue pursuing my education," she added.
"Following the ban on girls' education, online classes have become an effective platform to help girls study and build a better future."
"We are motivated to continue with our online classes despite daunting challenges including electricity outages and access to the internet," she added.
A modern education
Online classes are a great tool to build girls' knowledge and empower them to fight the prevailing restrictions on their education, say a number of women's rights activists.
Girls would have been dragged into darkness and hopelessness if online classes had not been offered, Ferozan Danish, a women's rights activist in Herat city, said.
"Online classes have made it possible for professors and educated women from all over the world to teach girls inside Afghanistan."
"This is indeed an instrumental opportunity that promotes the development of girls who have been deprived of schools and universities otherwise," she added.
Access to smartphones and to the internet has made it possible even for girls in villages and remote areas to participate in online classes, said Danish.
Online classes have partially replaced schools and provided girls with the opportunity to study without restrictions, Sonia Akbari, a teacher in Herat city, said.
"Online classes have made it convenient for girls to study at any time and from anywhere without any restrictions ... since they have access to classes around the clock," she said.
If schools and universities re-open for Afghan girls in the future, Akbari said, it would still be good for online classes to continue so girls around the globe can share knowledge and skills with each other.
The doors of universities and schools should be opened for Afghan girls as soon as possible, and they should be allowed to go to work. If the current rulers of Afghanistan want their welfare and the welfare of the Afghan land and love Afghanistan, then they should remove the restrictions on girls and women. Because day by day, their opponents are getting stronger and stronger. There is a high possibility of their coordination and strengthening, and maybe some foreign countries will fully support them, as a result of which there will be another big war in Afghanistan. So if the war starts, it will be challenging to calm it down. During the republic period, Afghans were the fuel of war, and the Afghan army suffered many casualties, so will the people and Taliban soldiers and officials suffer casualties. Recently, the opponents of the Taliban government held a meeting on February 11, and many of their leaders gave online speeches at the meeting. They emphasized unity among themselves and said that as long as they do not prove unity among themselves, they cannot enjoy the support of foreign countries. The Taand Pashto news website said in a report that the meeting was held in London, and the leaders of the opposition to the Taliban from Turkey, Tajikistan, and other countries, such as Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf, Atta Mohammad Noor, Mohammad Muhaqiq, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Latif Pedram, and Ahmad Masoud gave speeches. Some countries supported these people even during the republic, and sReply
Shahzad Aryubi, the Afghan ambassador in Prague, wrote on his Facebook page, (today is the international day of girls and women in science, but unfortunately, Afghan girls are still deprived of the human right to education and are sitting at home." In the past 20 years, Afghan girls have made significant achievements in the scientific and educational fields. The robotics team of Afghan girls was a good example, representing Afghanistan on various international stages and receiving awards. There is little time left to start the new academic year in Afghanistan. Hopefully, schools, universities, and other educational centers will be opened for Afghan girls this year, and this oppressed and afflicted section of society will get their rights. If this does not happen, the international community will review the interaction of relations. On the one hand, Afghanistan is leaving the priority of the countries' foreign policies, and on the other hand, the people are also demanding the right to education for their children; all this will lead to the increment of further domestic and foreign dissatisfaction, and God forbid, our country will once again go towards isolation.)Reply
Young people are society's backbone, energy, and life force, and their education and training are essential. One of the true rights of the citizens over their governments is to provide educational opportunities for their people. A large section of society will inevitably be severely affected if this is not done. Another piece of news is that the world has changed widely. Now people are not looking for education as before, but education is within everyone's reach; getting it requires skill and art, and this art and skill are considered to be easy to learn. My main goal here is to learn the language. Before getting an education, let's find the means first - that is, understand the language first. He also realized that language learning has become more accessible today; everything is online. It is also certain that most of our youth have access to the Internet. Youngsters with access to the Internet and a strong desire to learn may download the Duolingo software from Play Store https://www.duolingo.com/learn on their mobile and learn a foreign language. When you understand an international language, know that you have taken a big step in getting your education. After that, different countries of the world announce scholarships in various fields, check the scholarship requirements, complete the documents, and send them to them... Of course, keep one thing in mind, you can apply for different scholarships simultaneously. Send your request, and whichever one comes to you, don't wastReply
Online training is the right thing to do, but it seems difficult. Because many people, especially in remote areas, do not have regular internet access. This means that this facility is useful not for one percent, but even not for one in a thousand people. Therefore, the current rulers should change their decision as soon as possible, which prohibited girls from education, and allow the girls to continue attending their schools and universities. If not, Afghanistan will return to the medieval period, when people did not even have the basic necessities.Reply
The youth must keep the light of knowledge clear by finding alternative ways and not allowing this series to become stagnant and delayed. If one path is closed, try to open another, but the educational series should continue because this is the only way to survive and have a bright future. After all, this is the only way of sustaining our life. If we lose this chance, we will live in darkness forever, so it is necessary to continue struggling against the situation, and education is obtained. Education, like other nations, is the right of our Afghan people, and it is necessary to let them get this right; those who took this right from us should be told to stop this evil work, and they should open schools and universities for the girls too like that of the boys.Reply
The youth should not stop learning. If one door of life closes, another will surely open. Education is the first right of the youth of society. Education is what took the nations to the planets. Today the world is very much developed. If in-person education is stopped, do it online but don't stop it. Education is the nation's demand; maybe shortly, the rulers will allow it by establishing a unique mechanism.Reply
Girls who cannot go to school are deprived of studying. With this program, girls can study freely wherever they are. Online classes for girls who were sitting at home unemployed have given them hope, that girls continue to study, and not get deprived of getting education. It's really a great opportunity for girls to come out of the darkness and slowly move towards the light. Most of the girls were diagnosed with mental illnesses when the university and school gates were closed for them. With the start of this program, online classes, maybe these girls will be busy teaching [learning] and be saved from this mental illness.Reply