Swedish Committee for Afghanistan has been managing the Learning for Healthy Life courses since 2006 with funding from SIDA. The courses have been held in the provinces Samangan, Wardak and Laghman. The main purpose is to teach women in reproductive age to read and write, and how to take care of their and their family’s health.
” I have learnt the alphabet and numbers, now I can dial phone numbers from my cell phone and I can also write down my name.” said, Arefa a middle age students in one out of two Learning for Healthy Life (LHL) classes
“Thanks to the government of Sweden for providing us with such an opportunity,” Arefa added.
Women of different ages, who have not gone to school are attending these courses. 25 students are taught Dari, Mathematic, Islamic and Health subjects in each class.
“This year we are running 30 Learning for Healthy Life (LHL) courses in the districts of Aibak, Hazrat Sultan and Feroz Nakhcheer in Samangan province. After the nine months course, the women will receive a graduation certificate, which will help them to start studying in public schools from the 5th class”, said the LHL supervisor, Ms. Nahida
She also said that they do not hold LHL classes in the same areas, that they had before, which means they are not able to evaluate the number of graduated women, attending public schools, after completing LHL course.
Since one year Ms. Nahida has been working as LHL supervisor in Aibak Field Office. Before that she was working in a public clinic.
During our visit, we had the opportunity to visit two LHL classes in the Shorabak-e- Rubatak area in Aibak. In one of these courses the teacher Jamila was giving a class in Dari, when we visit. She said that at the beginning it was very difficult for her to teach, because she needed to start from the basic alphabet and letters, but now the students are progressing.
The course is held six days per week for two hours, in the house of the teacher. All the students are living in a nearby village, but some of them are living far away from the teacher’s house where the LHL course is being conducted, and it takes them 30 minutes to walk.
“I have learnt reading and writing in this course, and I have also learnt how to take care of our house cleanness. Before I was throwing the garbage in a corner of our yard, which remained there for days, but now I know it is harmful for our health, and I throw the garbage in its specific place far away from houses,” said Shafiqa one of the young students in the class.
Khair Begum is another student of this class. She said that she has learnt about benefits of vaccinations to prevent polio and another communicable diseases. She is married and she has six children who all are vaccinated.
Raakia is the young teacher of one of the LHL classes. She is only 15 years old, and she is studying at the 7th class of public school. After school she is teaching in the LHL course for two hours.
Mostly, Raakia’s all students are elder than her. While according to Afghan culture, elders say and decide, and youngsters listen to them and follow their decisions. But the situation in Raakia’s class is reversed. Raakia is lecturing and making decisions, and the students are listening and following her with a full respect.