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Acid attacks, poison: What Afghan girls risk by going to school

Thanks to Godzacon for the link


Terrorists will stop at nothing to keep Afghan girls from receiving an education.

"People are crazy," said Razia Jan, founder of a girls' school outside Kabul. "The day we opened the school, (on) the other side of town, they threw hand grenades in a girls' school, and 100 girls were killed.

"Every day, you hear that somebody's thrown acid at a girl's face ... or they poison their water."

There were at least 185 documented attacks on schools and hospitals in Afghanistan last year, according to the United Nations. The majority were attributed to armed groups opposed to girls' education.

"It is heartbreaking to see the way these terrorists treat ... women," said Jan, 68. "In their eyes, a women is an object that they can control. They are scared that when these girls get an education, they will become aware of their rights as women and as a human being."

Despite the threat of violence, Jan continues to open the doors of her Zabuli Education Center, a two-story, 14-room building where 354 area girls are receiving a free education.

Seven small villages make up Deh'Subz, where the school is located. Though Deh'Subz is not Taliban-controlled, Jan has still found it difficult to change the deep-rooted stigma against women's education.

Afghan girls traumatized after poisoning Afghan girls attacked with acid On the evening before the school opened in 2008, four men paid her a visit.

"They said, 'This is your last chance ... to change this school into a boys' school, because the backbone of Afghanistan is our boys,' " Jan recalled. "I just turned around and I told them, 'Excuse me. The women are the eyesight of Afghanistan, and unfortunately you all are blind. And I really want to give you some sight.' "

Jan has not seen the men since.

"You can't be afraid of people," she said. "You have to be able to say 'no.' Maybe because I'm old, the men are kind of scared of me, and they don't argue with me."

The Zabuli Education Center teaches kindergarten through eighth grade. Without her school, Jan says, many of the students would not be able to receive an education.

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TAGGED: EDUCATION, HARM


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