Despite significant improvements in education over the last decade, still only 32% of adolescent girls in Afghanistan can read or write. Afghanaid is working to change this.

There are many barriers to girls accessing education in Afghanistan; from cultural norms, to practices such as child marriage to security concerns. Maleeka Humaira Girl’s High School in eastern Afghanistan teaches around 3,400 girls aged 6 to 19. For the girls who study here, annual flash floods were yet another barrier restricting their ability to attend school.

The school is surrounded by swampland which is incredibly difficult to cross, particularly after rain-fall when the land becomes water-logged and dangerous. For a long time, many girls suffered injuries from attempting to reach the school, and often missed out on days of education simply because they were unable to reach the school grounds. This was especially true for the older girls, who are not allowed to leave the house without wearing a burqa, the full body covering worn Afghan women, which made it near-impossible for them to cross the water-logged area.

Afghanaid helped the community form a disaster management committee to assess the situation and find solutions to the challenges they face. With Afghanaid’s support, the villagers then built an elevated road to the school entrance, which both acts as a flood barrier and allows children to reach the school safely, even during heavy rains.

Afghanaid also helped the school to plant trees in the surrounding area, to reduce the level of flooding and protect and reinvigorate the soil. We also provided training in first aid, set up a loudspeaker to warn the children and wider villagers of flooding, and we coordinated flood simulations drills so that the whole community is better prepared and knows how to respond when floods occur.

Now that the students have easy and dry access to the school, attendance has increased and the girls are much more comfortable and happy. With support from Afghanaid, these girls no longer have to miss out on their education; now they have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Find out more: Our work with women how you can help