Passion for Education Among Hazaras of Afghanistan

After the fall of Taliban in 2001, the ethnic Hazara people welcomed the changes more than any other people in Afghanistan. Historically aHazaras were subject of systematic discrimination by most of the Afghan rulers. Only a couple of decades ago, Hazaras were not allowed to enroll in military college or prestigious schools in Afghanistan, to limit their progression. Nevertheless, Hazaras were the biggest beneficiary of post 9/11 Afghanistan.

The Taliban and other terrorist groups opposed modern education for boys and girls. In the same Afghanistan, the schools are operating without any security threat in Hazara areas. Afghanistan’s education ministry laments about hundreds of violent attacks on schools, teachers and students; but none of them happened in Central Highlands region, where Hazaras live.

In the Central Highlands regions, almost half of the students are female. Subsequently, Hazara students attain most of the seats in the universities each year. However, this success indeed comes after gruelling persistence and hard work in challenging situation.

Most of the schools in Hazara areas do not have any buildings or classes. Usually the students attend their classes under the sky with no clean water. In many areas, the villagers give their shops in the markets to be used as classrooms. Meanwhile, the teachers barely studied higher than the classes they teach. In many areas, the students walk for up to three hours to reach to their schools. Yet they love their schools and getting education.

Historical persecution and protracted civil war in Afghanistan have left deep impacts on Hazara people. They believe that education is the only way they can set themselves from centuries of systematic discrimination. The walking Hazara children are not only the real hope of the oppressed Hazara people, but for all Afghanistan to eventually trigger the change for peace.

Figure 1 Female students from Nili Centre, Daikundi province return home after the school.Figure 1 Female students from Nili Centre, Daikundi province return home after the school.

Figure 2. Most of the schools do not have buildings and classes. Students study under makeshift shades, trees or open sky. This is Kissow Valley High School, Kitti district, Daikundi province.Figure 2. Most of the schools do not have buildings and classes. Students study under makeshift shades, trees or open sky. This is Kissow Valley High School, Kitti district, Daikundi province.

Figure 3. A classroom in Kitti district, Daikundi province, where children study under the shade of a tree but many of them exposed under open sky.Figure 3. A classroom in Kitti district, Daikundi province, where children study under the shade of a tree but many of them exposed under open sky.

Figure 4. Female students returning from the school in Sangtakht district, Daikundi province.Figure 4. Female students returning from the school in Sangtakht district, Daikundi province.

Figure 5. To catch up with their studies and heavy workload at home, children take their books with them. A brother is carrying loaf of bread at his back and the other their books when they take the cattle for grazing in Sangtakht district, Daikundi province. Figure 5. To catch up with their studies and heavy workload at home, children take their books with them. A brother is carrying loaf of bread at his back and the other their books when they take the cattle for grazing in Sangtakht district, Daikundi province.

Figure 6. Demand of school building is very common when the government officials meet villagers. Children in Nili Centre, Daikundi province are carrying placards of their demand, “We want School building” when the governor visited their village to assess flood damage. Figure 6. Demand of school building is very common when the government officials meet villagers. Children in Nili Centre, Daikundi province are carrying placards of their demand, “We want School building” when the governor visited their village to assess flood damage.

Figure 7. Female students in Nili Centre, Daikundi province marching to take part in public celebration. Figure 7. Female students in Nili Centre, Daikundi province marching to take part in public celebration.

Figure 8. Hazara students in a Kabul school.Figure 8. Hazara students in a Kabul school.

Figure 9. Students of revolutionary Maarifat High School, Kabul, run by Aziz Royish (regarded as one of the best teachers in the world) one of Afghanistan's most successful in morning assembly.Figure 9. Students of revolutionary Maarifat High School, Kabul, run by Aziz Royish (regarded as one of the best teachers in the world) one of Afghanistan's most successful in morning assembly.

Figure 10. Playground of Daikundi's biggest school, Sangmom High School in Nili Centre. Many of the classes are made up by makeshift tents donated by UNICEF. Figure 10. Playground of Daikundi's biggest school, Sangmom High School in Nili Centre. Many of the classes are made up by makeshift tents donated by UNICEF.

Figure 11. A young teacher (in white) teaches older women in adult literacy class in Kitti district, Daikundi province. Figure 11. A young teacher (in white) teaches older women in adult literacy class in Kitti district, Daikundi province.

Figure 12. A teachers stands outside his class in Upper Kissor Primary School, Kitti district, Daikundi province. This class is originally a shop which is donated for school by the owner. Figure 12. A teachers stands outside his class in Upper Kissor Primary School, Kitti district, Daikundi province. This class is originally a shop which is donated for school by the owner.

Figure 13 Inside of a shop, turned classroom in Upper Kissow Valley, Kitti district, Daikundi province. The owner of several shops donated their shops for school because the school had not building. Figure 13 Inside of a shop, turned classroom in Upper Kissow Valley, Kitti district, Daikundi province. The owner of several shops donated their shops for school because the school had not building.

Figure 14. The students also learn to play sport at schools. Students of Dasht School performing martial arts acrobatics in a public ceremony.Figure 14. The students also learn to play sport at schools. Students of Dasht School performing martial arts acrobatics in a public ceremony.

Figure 15. This one room building is a primary school in Khedir district, Daikundi province where children take shelter from deteriorating winter season. Figure 15. This one room building is a primary school in Khedir district, Daikundi province where children take shelter from deteriorating winter season.

Figure 16. Young students after school from Nili Centre, Daikundi province. Figure 16. Young students after school from Nili Centre, Daikundi province.

Figure 17. Timran Middle School, Kitti district, Daikundi province in the afternoon. This building is used as boys middle school in the morning and girls in the afternoon.Figure 17. Timran Middle School, Kitti district, Daikundi province in the afternoon. This building is used as boys middle school in the morning and girls in the afternoon.

Figure 18. In many instances, the school buildings are not constructed because of widespread corruption. Children are in an open classroom with construction materials spread all over, in Silbitu Village, Sangtakht district, Daikundi province. Figure 18. In many instances, the school buildings are not constructed because of widespread corruption. Children are in an open classroom with construction materials spread all over, in Silbitu Village, Sangtakht district, Daikundi province.

Figure 19. Girls going back home after school in Shakar Dara Valley, Khedir district, Daikundi province.Figure 19. Girls going back home after school in Shakar Dara Valley, Khedir district, Daikundi province.

Figure 20. Students of Shakar Dara Valley Primary School, Khedir district, Daikundi province.Figure 20. Students of Shakar Dara Valley Primary School, Khedir district, Daikundi province.

Figure 21. Students of Shakar Dara Primary School, Khedir district, Daikundi province.Figure 21. Students of Shakar Dara Primary School, Khedir district, Daikundi province.

Figure 22. End of educational day for these girls in Badamak Village Primary School, Khedir district, Daikundi province. Figure 22. End of educational day for these girls in Badamak Village Primary School, Khedir district, Daikundi province.

 

Contributor
Muzafar Ali
Muzafar is a former refugee from Afghanistan. Through his extensive travels to remote areas, he photographed beauty of Afghanistan. He regularly shares his photographs on social media.

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