World Youth Skills Day a poignant reminder of the plight of women in Afghanistan

While the rest of the world celebrated World Youth Skills Day on July 15, in Afghanistan, women and girls remain deprived of educational opportunities and avenues for skills enhancement.

In a country grappling with ongoing challenges, including restrictions on women’s rights imposed by the Taliban, the future seems uncertain for millions of young women across the country.

Fariba Hussaini is one student who has been deprived of the chance to get a university degree and has instead turned to art.

“When the Taliban closed the universities, painting became my refuge. It allowed me to find peace and to process the circumstances surrounding us. That’s why I wanted other women to have the opportunity to learn to paint and express their emotions through art.”

Many other girls who have lost hope of a brighter future due to the Taliban’s restrictions are turning to other avenues in a bid to sustain a sense of hope by establishing small businesses.

“I am a tailor, and my goal in pursuing this work was to create opportunities for ourselves and provide job opportunities for other women,” said Asila, a resident of Herat province.

“I was in the 9th grade when schools closed. Since then, I have opened a shop and started working in sales. I hope that schools will reopen in the future so that we can continue our work and pursue our studies,” said Rabia, another resident of Herat.

Amidst these challenges, the US Embassy in Kabul’s Twitter page has expressed its commitment to supporting the youth in enhancing their skills.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, also highlighted the importance of improving youth skills.

“We must ensure that teachers gain the education and professional development needed to help young people make the transition from school to the workplace,” Guterres tweeted.

Designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, World Youth Skills Day aims to emphasize the importance of skills development for youth worldwide.

However, in Afghanistan, the deprivation of education and lack of employment opportunities for women and girls, coupled with limited individual and social freedoms, pose significant obstacles to skills development and hinder the country’s progress.