1,000 days without education: Afghan girls forced to migrate for school

A number of Afghan girls, deprived of schooling, have decided they could no longer wait for schools to reopen and have migrated to neighboring countries, including Pakistan and Iran, to continue their education.

Although they acknowledge that education in these countries is challenging for migrants, they believe it is better than spending a thousand days away from school.

Shahnaaz, unable to complete her twelfth grade in Afghanistan due to the school closures, migrated to Pakistan to pursue her dreams. She now aims to finish her education and enter university. “Due to the restrictions and the bleak future in Afghanistan, I had to leave my country and now strive for a brighter future,” Shahnaaz said.

Similarly, Sima, unable to finish her schooling in Afghanistan, left for Iran when schools were closed to girls above the sixth grade. Now in Mashhad, she is completing her education. “After being barred from attending school and with no clear future, I had no choice but to leave the country. Afghanistan is no place for girls to live,” Sima said.

Human rights activists say the Taliban’s policies have forced thousands of girls to leave their homes for education. Maryam Marouf Arwin, a women’s rights activist, said, “The ban on girls above the sixth grade and the restrictions imposed by the Taliban have caused many citizens to flee the country.”

Lemia Shirzai, a civil society activist, stated, “The Taliban have excluded women from societal structures with a utilitarian and political view, and banning girls from education is a violation of human rights. The world must not remain silent on this issue.”

As the closure of schools for girls above the sixth grade marks a thousand days, despite global demands, the Taliban have not lifted the ban, leaving it uncertain how much longer Afghan girls will live under this restriction. Many of these girls, according to some, are merely existing, deprived of the joy of life.