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Afghan Girls Can Soon Head Back to School

Thanks to two German aid agencies, the girls of Herat will soon be hitting the schoolbooks for everyone to see.

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Facing a brighter future again

The German relief organizations Malteser and HELP have initiated a joint project to rehabilitate four girl's schools in the western Afghan city of Herat.

The existing buildings are to be restored and provided with furniture. The organizations said they will rebuild the schools classroom by classroom so that lessons can commence in mid-December at the end of Ramadan.

Herat is located in the formerly Taliban-controlled region of the country. In the past years, some 38 to 58 percent of the boys went to school regularly. But only three to six percent of girls received any education – and were forced to do so secretly in "backyard lessons".

According to Malteser and HELP, Afghan women have one of the lowest literacy rates in the world (around three percent) as a result. "This is why a special education program for girls is urgently needed," the organizations said.

HELP is also planning an extra school meals program for 10,000 girls. "The idea is not only to provide nourishing food in these times of shortage, but also to encourage parents to send their girls to school on a regular basis," it said.

HELP was founded in 1981 to aid people in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

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