When someone says, "Afghanistan," what comes to mind?
For me, it's war, mistreatment of women, and an element of mystery. Maybe that's because I'm naive or because I know people who have gone to war in Afghanistan and come back changed forever. Or maybe the times are "a-changin'" and I haven't caught up. Either way, the words "education," "equal opportunities," and "digital footprint" are not at the top of my list of associations with this country.
I'm glad to hear that things are changing for Afghan women, who have not always been blessed with the opportunities we have here in America. I don't often think about the fact that my parents paid for my entire college education or that the Internet is always available at my very fingertips. Perhaps I should. Perhaps you should.
The video below describes the efforts being made in Afghanistan to give women a good education and a shot at being successful in the "real world." 40,000 women get to attend one of these new schools. As little as even ten years ago, I'm sure that number would have been minuscule (or non-existent).
While the efforts at building schools and educating women in Afghanistan are huge and much-needed, improvements must continue to be more far-reaching. 40,000 seems like a large number when compared to how many Afghan women received educational opportunities in the past, but think with me for a minute. At the University of Oklahoma, where I attended, 40,000 people come through the doors every 2-3 years. OU is considered an average-sized university. Consider how many universities of this size exist across the United States. (That's a lot of education going on, y'all!) And then consider the fact that 158 million+ people live in Afghanistan, yet there are very few schools like the one mentioned in the video. Only a lucky handful of Afghans (and an even smaller handful of women) receives opportunities like we have.
I'm certainly thankful that entrepreneurial women in this war-stricken country are able to start something new for themselves. But because education matters, we have to do more.
View this and other videos on My WebTV at http://webtvs.filmannex.com/MaryRachelFenrick.