As many of our students head back to school this month, Women for Afghan Women (WAW) is reminded of the transformative power of education and its potential to change the trajectory of one’s life. As they enter into their new school year and classes, our students enter into learning spaces that will inspire, challenge, and help them discover their agency and full potential.
This particular story is that of our first cohort of 16 young Afghan women scholars, who just started their first year at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon under the Education for Leadership in Crisis (ELC) Scholarship Program. The ELC Scholarship Program is a joint partnership program of WAW and the AUB, funded by the United States Department of State.
The 16 young Afghan women scholars were selected after a rigorous application process that assessed their academic standing as well as their compelling reasons for studying abroad. All 16 young scholars applied to the program from challenging, marginalized environments, with little social and financial support to fulfill their dreams of higher education.
From a place of little hope, they were escorted to Beirut by WAW’s Executive Director, Najia Nasim, who made sure the young women arrived safely into this vibrant Middle Eastern city. Helping them settle into their dorm rooms on campus, WAW made sure the young women were ready to embark on their new adventure in various academic undergraduate fields at the AUB. The collective journey of these young women, who have traveled thousands of miles from home in pursuit of education, is a testament to their power and courageous spirit. We see them as the embodiment of #AfghanWomenStrong.
Inside the classrooms of the AUB, they will engage in academic and experiential training that will develop their leadership skills and expand their knowledge. They will gain first-hand experience working in public and private sectors through internship experiences and be exposed to cultural diversity through interactions with fellow students, colleagues, professors, and regional leaders from Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East.
WAW is very excited to follow the path of these 16 young women. The opportunities in the ELC Scholarship Program is breaking down barriers, opening doors, and allowing them to re-imagine a future where they can become empowered leaders so that they can help build a stronger, healthier, vibrant and dynamic Afghan society.
We all know the benefits of investing in educating women and girls. Educated women and girls are pivotal to uplifting families and communities. Their collective knowledge and experience provide a platform for women to inspire other women, and pave the way to building independent and empowered lives.
As for our 16 first year students at the AUB, we send them luck, and our love and best wishes. We promise to keep you posted about their progress!
In this back-to-school season, support WAW’s efforts to provide educational opportunities that are transforming women’s lives––support #AfghanWomenStrong!