One man’s passion wins school for Afghan village

Students attend a class at the Nooranya School in the southeastern Paktika province of Afghanistan as women make huge strides in education. (AN Photo)
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Updated 06 January 2020

One man’s passion wins school for Afghan village

  • Education Ministry invited father to Kabul last week, presented him with medal

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.

BACKGROUND

Arab News highlighted illetarate laborer Mia Khan’s passion for his daughters’ education in a story published last month.

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.”


Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

Updated 23 February 2020

Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

  • Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it
  • The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India

NEW DELHI: Police used tear gas to disperse large crowds in India’s capital of New Delhi on Sunday in the latest eruption of violence at protests over a new citizenship law, police officials said.
Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it, with the two groups pelting each other with stones in the Maujpur area in the northeastern part of the city, according to television footage.
“There must be some miscreants who want to spoil the peace in the area. We will identify them and take action against them,” Alok Kumar, a senior Delhi police official, told reporters about the protest.
“The situation is under control now,” he added.
The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India, where he is expected to raise the issue of religious freedom in the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from neighboring Muslim-majority nations to gain citizenship, has triggered weeks of sometimes violent protests against Modi’s government.
The Indian law is seen by opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions.
Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against the country’s 180 million Muslims.
On Sunday, a separate protest also erupted in the northern Indian city of Aligarh, where protesters threw stones at the police, state administration official Chandra Bhushan Singh said.
The Internet in the area had been suspended until midnight, he added.