iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

Koushik Dutta, Hindustan Times
Midnapore, September 06, 2013
With the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on girls’ education posing a hurdle in her daughter’s studies, Nafisa, a resident of Midnapore Town, who had married an Afghan national a few years back, has returned home with her three children. The Taliban regime had in 1996 restricted education for girls, making madrasahs the main source of primary and secondary education.

But despite the end of the Taliban regime in 2001, attacks on schools continue to occur at regular intervals in Afghanistan.

Citing government figures, UN WOMEN, a United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment, has said in a report that only 26% of Afghanistan’s population is literate and the literacy rate among women is a poor 12%.

Although the ministry of higher education in Afghanistan is doing all it can to rebuild educational institutions destroyed in Taliban attacks, besides setting up new ones, the overall scenario vis-à-vis women’s education continues to be grim in that country.

It is this gloomy state of affairs that prompted Nafisa to return to Midnapore Town.

Nafisa had married a resident of Afghanistan’s Pattika province in 2006 and relocated to that country subsequently.

Her husband, too, has accompanied her to Midnapore and taken up a job in private banking here.

“Despite the poor educational facilities and a very different culture, I adjusted in Afghanistan and was happy there. Given that not many people there understand that education is a part of life, there were certain challenges when it came to my daughter’s education. So, I returned to Midnapore last December,” Nafisa added.

“Now, my daughter, Sahina, is studying in an English medium school here. She is facing a language barrier and trying hard to adjust, but otherwise things are fine,” Nafisa said.

“I am trying to learn the local language here. I know why my mother came back,” said six-year-old Sahina.

But the odds notwithstanding, Nasifa plans to return to Afghanistan after her daughter attains a certain age.

“If we find that the education system there has improved and girls can go to school without any harassment, we might return when my daughter is in class 7 or 8,” she added.