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Moving Beyond the Classroom Doors: International Women’s Day Conversations

In recognition of International Women’s Day, which we at EBV celebrate every day, we wanted to highlight important discourse about gender equality within education. This month we are focusing on the idea of creating a sustainable future for upcoming generations of young women and girls. While there have been considerable efforts made to close the gap of educational disparities among girls and women, there are still challenges to be resolved. 

For this month's article, we're taking a closer look at organizations that are helping girls not only access the classroom but also navigate challenges and remain successful. This story begins on the last day of February. It was a chilly afternoon in the northeastern U.S. Our lovely Vee Kativhu and Pashtana Durani, an Afghan human rights activist, had an impactful talk surrounding the state of education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education.  Particularly here was when I first learned about the work of Pashtana’s organization LEARN, a grassroots organization that aims to safely educate young girls in Afghanistan.  

At the event, they discussed everything from the inspiration behind the work they do in advocacy to their journeys within education as well as their goals for the future. 

Through Pashtana’s organization, there are a variety of resources provided from online courses (as well as solar-powered tablets) for Grades 1-12 to educating girls about menstrual hygiene. They even provide humanitarian aid during times of crisis, LEARN seemingly does it all. Since their inception in 2018, over 7,00 children have been impacted with access to technology and the new ability to take classes. 

I  had the great privilege and opportunity to attend this event and was recently reflecting on the wisdom of these two accomplished young women. Particularly Vee’s words about working towards a world in which all women and girls have autonomy over their lives, their education, and their future were memorable. She explained that it is more than just allowing girls to go to school but making certain girls remain in school and are provided with resources to be successful. Pashtana’s story truly echoed a testament to making an impact and creating change, and I for one, can not wait to watch it unfold.

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