“At USAID, we believe that gender equality and women’s empowerment isn’t a part of development but the core of development.”
In 2006, the American University of Afghanistan was established in the city of Kabul, giving opportunity for the new generation of Afghan youth and the chance at a better future. Funded by USAID during the United States administration, First Lady Laura Bush was a pioneer of the project. The university currently has both undergraduate and graduate programs offering equal education to both genders (AUAF).
With a country that has been torn for decades, a university with equal opportunity programs is the beating heart of the capitol city. Women are empowered at this campus as they are treated equally to men. Afghan women and girls have made significant gains with the support of USAID, working in partnership with the Afghan government and other international donors.
Knowledge is Power when it Gives Afghan Women The Chance to Change Their Future and Rebuild a Nation.
The American University of Afghanistan is a co-ed, non profit, non partisan private university. In a country where women have historically had less rights than men, the benefits of co-ed education are countless. Classes are conducted in English to bridge the gap between Afghanistan and the Western world. The American style curriculum seek to bring Afghan students American quality education in their own country. AUAF is closing gender inequality and empowering women to educate themselves and has significantly helped millennial Afghan youth. Giving students the opportunity to be able to compete in the global market empowers them to create a better future for tomorrow.
“Power is Freedom” said Ms. Mehtra Mehran Yacouby, “AUAF did not give me a fish, but it taught me how to catch one. This way, I learned how to think critically… and now, if I go for anything in the future, I can use these abilities to come up against any problem I face in the future.” (AUAF)
Tragedy hit the campus in August of 2016 when a gunmen snuck past security and entered the premises killing several innocent people. AUAF has always been a target, and after this devastating attack, closed their doors. Campus operations were suspended. The campus was shut down. For how long, the public did not know. But in 2017, the school announced it was reopening. Security was tightened, students and staff more alert, but business as usual on the education front.
AUAF students chose education over fear.
The simple fact that they are back at school signifies that education is important to them. Afghan students find the necessity to overcome any barriers that prevents them from gaining quality higher education. As many as 60 Fulbright scholars have graduated the American University of Afghanistan since the year 2010 (Huffington Post).
Hunger for Knowledge is Unstoppable.
Brishna, a 26 year old law student struggles to get into her wheelchair. She is one of the victims of the deadly attack in August, and was shot in the leg 3 times on that day. She is immobile, in pain, and feeling the burdens of having been shot. However, none of this will stop her from going back to school and finishing her law degree. She was only 5 weeks away from graduating her program, and her thirst for knowledge and to complete her education overpowers her fear of being shot by a terrorist. She is determined to continue with her studies and yearns for the day she is strong enough to return to campus (Huffington Post).
Brishna’s fight signifies the women’s fight for education and empowerment even after being beat down. Her willpower is unstoppable.