Girls’ school founder in Afghanistan escapes with students, burns files
The co-founder of the only private boarding school for girls in Afghanistan said on Tuesday that nearly 250 students, faculty, staff and family members had managed to leave the war-torn country and would temporarily relocate to Rwanda for a “semester abroad” for the entire body of study.
“SOLA (School of Leadership, Afghanistan) is relocating, but our relocation is not permanent,” Shabana Basij-Rasikh tweeted. “A semester abroad is exactly what we are planning. When circumstances on the ground allow, we hope to return home to Afghanistan.”
Basij-Rasikh also thanked the governments of Qatar, Rwanda and the United States for helping the girls escape.
“My heart is breaking for my country,” she added. “I stood in Kabul and saw the fear, anger and fierce bravery of the Afghan people. I look at my students and see the faces of millions of Afghan girls, just like them. , who remain behind. “
Basij-Rasikh tweeted videos of herself on Friday burning school records and the files of young women at her school amid terror of what a return to Taliban rule might mean for women. Basij-Rasikh said she burned the documents to protect the students and their families from the terrorist group.
“In March 2002, after the fall of the Taliban, thousands of Afghan girls were invited to go to the nearest public school to take a placement test because the Taliban had burned all the student files for erase their existence. I was one of those girls, ”Basij-Rasikh said. “Almost 20 years later, as the founder of the only girls ‘boarding school in Afghanistan, I burn my students’ files not to erase them, but to protect them and their families.”
Since taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have attempted to reshape their image and present themselves to Western journalists as a kinder, gentler extremist group that will respect women’s rights within the confines of Sharia law, although they did not provide any details on their new reading of Islamic law. . When the Taliban was last in power in the 1990s, their hard line led to severe mistreatment of women. Women had become second-class citizens with very few or no rights. The girls were taken out of school. And as if that wasn’t enough, almost all the schools exploded or were riddled with bullets.
Basij-Rasikh, who was born and raised in Kabul, was only 6 when the Taliban banned girls from receiving an education.
Rather than give in to their demands, her family dressed her and her sister as boys and sent them to a secret girls’ school in Kabul. They knew the stakes were high, and if caught they could be killed. But they also knew the importance of education.
Basij-Rasikh attended high school in the United States as part of the YES exchange program and graduated magna cum laude in 2010 from Middlebury College in Vermont. After graduating, she returned to her homeland and co-founded SOLA, the first private boarding school for girls run by Afghans.
Since the Taliban takeover, she has begged the outside world to keep the girls stuck in Afghanistan in their minds.
“These girls can’t go, and you can’t look away. If there’s one thing I ask of the world, it’s this: don’t take your eyes off Afg. Don’t let your attention wander. over the weeks. Look at these girls, & in doing so, you will hold those who hold power over them to account, ”she said.
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Original author: Barnini’s Chakraborty
Original location: Girls’ school founder in Afghanistan escapes with students, burns files