LEARN Is a Grassroots Organization Helping Girls and Women in Afghanistan Continue Their Education Amid Taliban School Ban
Founded by Pashtana Durrani, the nonprofit has essentially created an underground network of schools that allows girls to continue their education beyond the sixth grade.
When Taliban forces regained control of Afghanistan’s government on August, 15, 2021, they instituted a number of decrees that have restricted human rights. One such restriction is not allowing girls and women to attend school beyond sixth grade — but one organization is working to change that.
In September 2021, Taliban leaders went back on their promise to allow women to receive education by barring Afghan girls from attending school beyond sixth grade. As a result, secondary schools for girls have shut down throughout the country and women have been prohibited from working in jobs outside of teaching and health care. For many young girls and women who were already receiving an education, this meant forced removal from schools and a loss of future career opportunities.
Many organizations and activists have been working tirelessly to make sure that basic needs and rights are still provided. One organization in particular, LEARN, is working to combat the restrictions by providing an education to girls and women in Afghanistan. Founded by Pashtana Durrani, the nonprofit has essentially created an underground network of schools that allows girls to continue their education beyond the sixth grade.
The organization currently operates in four provinces — Kandahar, Kabul, Takhar, and Bamyan — and is made up of 100 students across each school. In order to maintain updated educational resources such as laptops, books, internet, transportation fees, and security protection for the girls who attend, the organization relies on a 75%-25% rule in which 75% of the costs are covered by LEARN and 25% is covered by the local community.
Other restrictive measures have been put into place against women in the region in addition to education. The Taliban now requires women news anchors, as well as any woman who’s on television, to cover their faces while on the air.
People within the LGBTQ community are feeling the effects of the Taliban’s restrictions, as well. The persecution of LGBTQ+ people has increased since the Taliban came into power, with their interpretation of Sharia law meaning that homosexuality is punishable by death. Many have been forced to hide their sexuality or flee to avoid persecution.
LEARN primarily draws its funding from online donations. If you’re interested in donating to the organization and helping girls and women continue their education in Afghanistan, you can donate via its website: https://learnafghan.org/.