At-home learning offers glimmer of hope to Afghan girls

At-home learning offers glimmer of hope to Afghan girls

The Taliban have barred girls from schools in Afghanistan. So some of them gather secretly in homes in Kabul, drawn together by a former teacher. Hassan Adib leads a discussion of “Memories of a translator” by Mohhamad Qazi in Kabul, April 2022. (Photo by...

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan means millions of girls cannot attend school. Many young people outside of the country know this, but it is difficult for them to conceive just what this means for a young Afghan girl their age. In his story, Jalal Nazari, an Afghan now living in Canada where he is a Global Journalism Fellow at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health, takes us inside Kabul homes, where about 30 teenage girls meet secretly twice a month to improve their reading and writing skills. To hear the girls and their teacher speak adds a highly personal dimension to a conflict that for many young people remains distant and abstract. The courage they show in the face of Taliban strictures is a reminder to young people everywhere that education is a privilege not to be taken lightly.

Exercise: Ask your students to interview their parents, asking them why education is important, and then to write an essay quoting their parents and adding their own thoughts.

Languages in Tibet under threat — and traditions at risk too

Languages in Tibet under threat — and traditions at risk too

Tibet’s many languages are under threat from Beijing’s policies and economic realities, putting cultural traditions and memories at risk. Tsupkhu Lama in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India in June 2019. (Photo by Li Keira Yin) This story won honorable...

Li Keira Yin of The Thacher School examines the difficulties that minority languages face surviving in Tibet without falling into the trap of concluding that it’s all the fault of the Communist Party leadership in Beijing when economic pressures in a globalized economy are part of the explanation. For her nuanced view, Yin draws from her unique perspective as someone raised in China who is studying in the United States. Her account of the complexities of language in Tibet started when Yin listened to her Chinese grandmother speak a dialect at home while speaking in Mandarin when picking up the phone. “I started wondering why dialects and minority languages have to be overpowered by Mandarin in China, and so I dug deeper,” Yin said. A lesson for other students struggling to understand how their lives fit into the bigger scheme of things.

Exercise: Ask students to discuss when it’s important for authorities to protect minority languages.

Tag: political change