Stories: Community-based Education Provides an Opportunity for Returnee and Internally Displaced Children to Learn, Read, and Write- Afghanistan
This story was collected as part of INEE's 20th Anniversary commemoration to highlight how education in the midst of crisis and upheaval has made a difference for our members and those they work with (learners, youth, teachers, caregivers, etc.). For more stories, click here.
Community-based Education Provides an Opportunity for Returnee and Internally Displaced Children
to Learn, Read, and Write in Rural Afghanistan
Name: Benjamin Gauley & Homayun Sediqi
Organization: Creative Associates International - Afghan Children Read
Location: Nangarhar province, Afghanistan
The children of Afghan returnees from neighboring countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, and internally displaced families often reside in underserved, rural areas and do not have access to education services. Community-based education has therefore expanded as a formally recognized tool of the Ministry of Education to address this challenge. Community-based classrooms are particularly important for girls’ access to education, which is hindered by barriers including cultural taboo and insecurity.
Nigeena is a grade 3 student at the community-based education center in the Behsood district of the Nangarhar province. Nigeena and her family voluntarily returned to Behsood five years ago. Nigeena explains, “Life in a refugee camp was never easy, but living in my own village is harder. We do not have electricity or safe drinking water, but I am still happy here because I go to the community education center, which is close to my house. I have kind teachers and made many friends. My dream is to get educated to become one of the girls who leads the country in the future.”
Zarina, a second-grade teacher for girls at the center, witnessed how these students have experienced trauma and now have difficulty concentrating in the classroom. “I am always kind to my students and treat them with respect,” says Zarina. “When they have a problem, I carefully listen to them and work with them to find a solution. This approach has helped me build a close relationship with my students and their parents, so that I can support them in adjusting to their new life.”
The USAID-funded Afghan Children Read project supports community-based teachers to improve their skills through an evidence-based early grade reading model. This model aims to enhance teachers’ ability to teach literacy, including in community-based education classrooms in remote, under-resourced areas, through training and instructional support.
The views expressed in this blog are the author's own.