As a farmer from a young age, 40-year-old Zolfiqar did not go to school and had never had the opportunity to learn about women's rights and gender issues. “I thought that women's only duty was to do housework, that they had no right to leave home or study, and I considered myself to be the only person who should make decisions in the house”, he said.

Roughly two years ago, Zolfiqar and his wife Sanam enrolled in one of Afghanaid’s human rights training courses and things started to change. “I realised that Islam provides women with their own rights, including the right to inheritance, and the right to education. I had never realised that before. The training was so interesting that we told others about it and the number of participants increased from 10 to 25 between the first and second day,” he recalled.

“In the past, it was normal in our village that we did not allow our girls to go to school after the sixth grade. But after taking part in this training I realised the value of women getting an education, and all the benefits this brings to them and to the whole family, so I decided to let my daughters finish school. My oldest daughter Latifa, who is 14, is now teaching me how to improve my own reading and writing."

"She also helps me with my sales, as I am personally unable to count my money and set the right prices for my agricultural products, which I sell in the local market. In the past, I worried about money but with her help, I have been able to earn more from our products which means we no longer need to get loans from shopkeepers. So not just my daughter benefits, but our entire family!" He said.

"I have also started treating my wife much better. I’m ashamed to say that in the past I did not treat her as I should have done. Afghanaid has helped me see that Sanam is an individual with her own rights and now everyone is much happier. Because of all of the positive and important changes in my family, I decided to write everything I learned down and, every week after Friday prayers, I teach other men in my community what I have learned. I am the head of my local community council and in this role I want to create a community where men and women can work together to improve life for everyone here," he said.

Latifa (pictured) also had something to say, “before my father took part in this training course, he did not treat me and my mother well. He did not want me to go to school and study. His thinking changed completely however, and now we enjoy living together in a comfortable and happy environment," she said, "I have also been able to continue my education and have recently completed 9th grade. I would like to go to university and become a doctor so I can serve the women in our village, as currently we do not have a female doctor."

How you can get involved

We deliver training courses on women's rights to men and women, alongside women's literacy and vocational training courses, in some of the most remote areas of the country, enabling them to challenge the status quo and work together for a better future. We need your help to keep these courses running and reach more families like Zolfiqar and Latifa's with important support: