Afghanistan: Jawzjan women learn new skills amid ongoing education ban

Young women in Jawzjan province are turning to tailoring and weaving workshops to learn handicrafts amid the ongoing education ban for women and girls across the country.

Thousands of young women across the country are doing the same in a bid to learn a skill in order to earn a living, as academic careers become a distant dream.

Jawzjan women said that due to the closure of secondary schools and universities, they have faced mental and emotional problems, and in order to get rid of these problems, they have turned to learning new skills.

Moqaddas Sadat is in charge of one of the handicrafts training centers in Jawzjan province where she has provided job and training opportunities for over 30 young women who have been deprived of education.

“Offices, universities and schools are closed. Therefore, I decided to do something for those who have remained at home,” she said.

Mehr-ul-Nisa Sadat, a sixth-year medical student at Balkh University is one of the students at the center. Sadat would have finished her studies this year if universities were not closed for women last December.

Sadat said that she joined the center to help her family and prevent mental health issues as she was suffering psychologically after the ban on education was enforced.

“I heard about the center and my family asked me to continue embroidery here,” she said.

Last year, Najia Burhani was in Grade 12 at Mirwais Mina school in Jawzjan province, but now she has been banned from going to school and is worried about her future. She is learning embroidery to get rid of mental problems.

In this workshop, sewing and weaving are taught free of charge to students who have left school and university.

At the same time, a number of girls and women in Bamyan who are left out of education have also created a market under the name of “Sark”.

The market has 12 shops and has been established with the financial help of a number of Bamiyan women.

Said Sohaila Sakhizada, a resident of Bamiyan

The women asked the Taliban to reopen schools and universities for them.

“We’re here to learn a skill and earn some income here and meanwhile save ourselves from stress and early marriages,” said Shakila Moradi, a student at the center.

“We hoped that schools will be reopened. But this did not happen. Now, many women and girls have turned to such centers and are learning various skills,” said Adila Azimi, a student at the center.

After taking control of the country, the Taliban first closed secondary schools for girls. Then they closed educational centers and universities for girls and women and banned women from working in non-governmental organizations.

The Taliban spokesman has said that they are working on a plan to bring reforms in the education of girls.