KABUL: The Afghan Education Ministry has said it will build a school in the village of a man who spent seven years traveling by foot or motorbike to take his daughters to a school 12 km away from his home, the ministry’s spokesman said on Sunday.
Mia Khan, an illiterate wage laborer and heart patient who lives near the city of Sharan, in the southeastern Paktika province, would park his motorcycle outside the school every morning and wait for classes to end so the family could make the long journey back home.
Last week, the Afghan Education Ministry invited Khan to Kabul and presented him a medal and pledged to build a high school for girls in his village.
“Providing education to children is a responsibility of households, but Mia Khan’s case was exceptional because for years he had to ride or walk his two daughters for miles,” the ministry’s public affairs chief, Noorya Nazhat, told Arab News on Sunday.
“The (education) minister has promised to build a school near his home.”
Nazhat did not specify the details of the school project, such as its cost and size or when it would be completed.
Khan could not be reached for comment.
Afghan women have made huge strides in the country since they were banned during Taliban rule of 1996 to 2001 from schools, work, politics and going outside without a male relative.
But Afghanistan is still not an easy place to be a woman, with forced marriages, domestic violence and high maternal mortality rates prevalent nationwide, particularly in rural areas.
Access to public life has improved, especially in cities such as the capital Kabul, where many women work outside the home and more than a quarter of members of Parliament are female.
However, four decades of war, from occupation to internal fighting, have destroyed the Afghan economy, rendering it one of the poorest in the world, with few jobs for a mostly young population.
Women occupy a particularly precarious place, as they face cultural barriers and hostility — not just from conservative family members, but also hard-line militant groups — for pursuing financial independence and greater equality.
Arab News highlighted Khan’s passion for his daughters’ education in a story published last month.
“You know, we don’t have any female doctors in our town,” Khan told Arab News in an interview.
“It is my ultimate wish to see my daughter as its first female doctor. I want her to serve humanity.”