Afghan refugee elder sees no progress without girls education
QUETTA, 5 OCTOBER 2018: Though Mohammad Agha and his children could not acquire an education for themselves due to war and poverty, he has now become an advocate for education and visits local homes to convince parents to send their children, especially daughters to school.
“We couldn’t get an education, but my grandsons and granddaughters are now studying,” said Mohammad Agha, an Afghan refugee who lives in Saranan refugee village, in Pishin district, Balochistan.
Agha, 55, who belongs to Sari Pul in Afghanistan moved to Pakistan due to war some 31 years ago. They had to travel for several days to reach Pakistan. He has since struggled as daily wage worker to earn a living for his family.
Knowing the importance of education, he is now an active member of the Educate a Child (EAC) initiative. This is a global initiative launched by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar, which aims to reduce the number of children worldwide who are missing out on education.
In addition to encouraging students to attend school, the programme includes sessions for weaker students, campaigns and activities to increase enrolment, supports accelerated learning programmes, as well as the provision of school supplies, learning materials and teacher training.
Some 800 students were enrolled in schools in 2018, including girls in Saranan refugee village. Agha used his influence in the community to persuade families to send their boys and girls to schools.
Mohammad Agha said he witnessed fighting back in Afghanistan but now realises that education is the only way to keep peace. “This is the only weapon for youth to combat social evils, including terrorism and drug abuse,” he said.
His children are earning and are financially stable. “I have devoted my life to education. I want to see our next generation educated and prosperous. They should become doctors, engineers and teachers to serve the nation,” he added.
Agha believes that education of girls is important. “No society can progress without girl’s education,” he said.
Now many local female teachers are serving in the Saranan camp. Agha called for more incentives for teachers to promote education and skills development trainings for students and make the community self-sufficient.
Humera Karim in Quetta