Afganistan, December 17, 2018: In October, we wrote about an inspiring woman named Soraya Hossaini. She is a 25 year old woman in Daikundi province who has opened a small school in her home to help her community fight illiteracy since 2017. Soraya’s school serves girls and women and their children in a small village where there are no other literacy schools. Many of Soraya’s students are mothers and to accommodate them, she has turned one of her rooms into a daycare center. In addition to teaching the mothers reading and writing and key school subjects, Soraya often looks after their children so they can focus on their studies.
“Sometimes if a student’s child is ill, I take them to the doctor because the parents can’t afford to,” Soraya told us as she described the staggering level of poverty in her village.
Moved by the needs of her impoverished rural community, Soraya provides all these services free of charge using her salary from teaching at a private school in a nearby village. Her husband Sayed Baqer Mosawi, who is also a teacher, supports her work and helps provide for the family.
After learning about Soraya’s work, members of Free Women Writers were incredibly inspired. We felt that it was important for us to collaborate with Soraya. To that end, we offered to provide her school with a seed grant of $500. The giving woman that she is, Soraya urged us to purchase and send a number of items for her classroom instead of sending her the cash. To support Soraya’s work, our member Rohina Sediqui went shopping and purchased textbooks, story books, stationary, a white board, a heater, winter clothes, gloves, and socks for children who use the daycare center, soap, and volleyballs and sent the items to Soraya’s school. The warm clothes and heater were key and urgent because Daikundi’s brutal winter is typically among the most dangerous in the country. We also sent copies of our book for women facing abuse and violence, You Are Not Alone, to Soraya and her students.
“I learned important lessons from this book. It helped me know myself. I think it could change a woman’s life so I also suggested it to my students,” Soraya says.
After eight years of teaching at the private school and now at her home, Soraya is nowhere near done with her work for education. In the coming year, she hopes to serve even more women and help them escape illiteracy.
“I am not working for money. My only goal is to help women progress. I hope that one day every woman in every corner of Afghanistan can go to school and learn about their human rights so they never bow down to oppression,” Soraya says about what inspires her to continue her work.
We cannot wait to see where Soraya’s journey takes her and honored to be able to support her valuable work.
By: Noorjahan Akbar