Offering internet education to girls and women in Afghanistan
By Ian Ada - President
The Rotary Club of Carlton has recently received a grant of $5000 from the Rotary Foundation towards a $15,000 project to improve the education of women and girls in Afghanistan through an internet portal.
Girls and young women in Afghanistan have now lost their dreams for their future education because of their new government requiring traditional Muslim education for women. They are banned from attending secondary and now, University education institutions. They have lost their right to determine their own future and have lost the capacity to inspire their children.
We will use the internet to change this. We will inspire them to dream again!
The project is the brainchild of Dr Noor Shah Kamawal, who is an associate member of our Rotary Club. Dr Kamawal first joined our club in 2012 for 18 months when he was undertaking a master’s degree in public health at the University of Melbourne and is passionate about education for girls and has four daughters of his own.
After his return to Afghanistan, Carlton Rotary funded the establishment of two schools for girls from external sources as well as a website for the youth of Afghanistan with support from the Rotary Foundation.
Dr Kamawal also has a Canadian teaching qualification and established many education projects in the following eight years, but Rotary intervention enabled him to come to Australia with his family in 2021 after the return of the Taliban to government.
Volunteers and hired teachers in Afghanistan, and volunteers in Australia, will be used to establish an Internet Education Portal between our countries.
Hubs will be established in Afghanistan using laptop computers for individual and small home groups to access a web site that will enable individual or small group teaching with instructors in both Afghanistan and here in Melbourne via the internet.
Dr Kamawal will instruct volunteers both in Melbourne and Afghanistan about appropriate teaching strategies.
This Internet Education Portal will be used between hubs of Afghan women and girls throughout Afghanistan who wish to continue their education with the help of multilingual volunteers in both Afghanistan and Melbourne.
It is aimed to prepare them for entry to Australian universities for further studies and overseas job markets in both Australia and other overseas countries in the long term.
As females cannot attend education facilities in Afghanistan, the project will provide laptop computers available to individuals as well as to community, home, or mosque-based groups.
Initially, two community home based classes for girls in Jalalabad City will be set up to provide computer, English language, and other prerequisite subjects to students. Further home-based classes will then be established in other provinces in Afghanistan.
Students will be selected competitively, and provided instruction, online lessons, and materials by our volunteers in both Afghanistan and Melbourne to enable them to proceed with overseas tertiary courses or perhaps to apply for a Rotary Year 11 to 12 grant scholarship.
It is expected that continuation of this project would become autonomous and eventually self-funding.
In other news, the club raised $1330 at the Election Day barbecue last year at University High School. These funds were donated to flood relief for residents of Rochester and were provided via the local Rotary Club. •