Case Study 3: Female Teachers in Afghanistan
In rural and remote communities in Afghanistan, the IRC supports community-based schooling for children who have no access to government schools. Male and female teachers have established small classes in the community, either in their own homes (for the women) or in the community mosque (for the men). These classes are close to the children's homes and are considered safe and culturally acceptable, especially by the conservative parents of daughters. Sometimes there are several classes in the one village, all operating separately in different locations. The classes follow the same curriculum, hours and school schedule as the government schools.
Male teachers in the same community usually have informal opportunities to interact with each other, to share their experiences, problems and solutions over a cup of tea at a tea stall in the village or after prayers in the mosque. Female teachers, however, have few opportunities for social interaction beyond their immediate family. Female teachers rarely meet with each other to share experiences or even to see each other's classroom.
Teaching is a way for women to interact on a daily basis with a group of children, and to feel that they are making a significant contribution to their community and to the overall recovery and reconstruction of their country. Many women gain personal satisfaction from teaching. This satisfaction may help make up for the fact that there is currently no salary for the community-based teachers.