“I come to you from a different world- Afghanistan has never really known peace for the past 25 years; its education system is in tatters….”
The question of Girls’ education is one of delicate concern; constantly debated globally, no real solution has yet been produced. Education has been recognized as a fundamental human right; despite this, there are a variety of issues affiliated with its implementation; particularly in the field of girl’s education.
8:50 am, auditorium 3 found two eager journalists awaiting the commencement of Peter Dalglish’s “From the Front lines of Girls Education”. The atmosphere was one of anticipation as the room steadily began to fill with enthusiastic participants. Some of which, who had attended the previous session, could be heard gushing out phrases reminiscent of “you will not be disappointed” and “his words have inspired me so much!’
Time passed painstakingly slowly, until at last the lights were dimmed, the enthusiasts some what controlled their excitement, the reporters, set their pens and paper ready, and Dalglish proceeded to the podium. Peter began the session with the powerful message “ There is no greater calling than investing in girls’ education.’ Girls’ education was further detailed to have been an extremely yet sadly overlooked cause.
Peter Dalglish is a Canadian, and is also the humanitarian founder of the Street Kids international charity in addition to the Trails Youth initiative program. At the moment, he attains the position of the country representative for Afghanistan’s UN habitat. Spending over 20 years working in the countries of Afghanistan, Sudan and Nepal; he has been exposed to a wide range of environments.
Each of which held extremely emotional memories for the passionate humanitarian speaker.
In particular, Dalglish touched upon Nepal; informing the intrigued room about the heart wrenching conditions of the existing so called “education system.” In the minutes, which followed, the essence of raw humanity was prevalent in the atmosphere. Dalglish frequently made visits to the country, to observe the education system, which existed; focusing especially on how girls were accommodated.
“Children’s minds are like sponges, they absorb everything so quickly…”
With a melancholy tone, Peter detailed how the majority of the lower class girls were not permitted to attend school; as they had to work for their “owners”. In contrast to this, the girls who were permitted to attend, had to negotiate with their owners, and could only do so for short periods of time, before returning to work.
Jokingly, he recalled a fond memory of a student “She would love to attend school, and she had no idea how to play chess, however over time she gradually improved until at one point she beat the son of her owner… it is safe to say he wasn’t the brightest” This evoked laughter from the anticipating audience.
However, the laughter quickly was extinguished when Dalglish added; “ But because she had won, and had embarrassed the owner’s son, she was beaten up, and from that day onwards, lost purposely.”
The majority of the teachers at the schools were young people in their teens. “ People, young people no older than you and not very different to you, are spending their holidays in these schools, graciously offering to teach these young children.”
Following this statement, Dalglish moved on to speak about the bias nature of the British Council in Nepal. “There was a young boy, incredibly intelligent, who wished to go to school, but there were two problems; his caste and the fact that he was poor.” Despite the development of the modern world, human beings are still disgracing themselves, looking to caste as a determining factor in society.
“The British Council responded and informed us that he was of the wrong caste, and therefore would not be accepted into one of their schools; but we didn’t stop there.. After months of continuous campaigning we forced them to open their doors to filthy snot nosed children- now isn’t that an achievement?”
The response was instantaneous- thunderous applause resonated through the entire hall; reflecting appreciation of Dalglish’s phenomenal contribution to humanity.
Smiling widely; Dalglish concluded with an empowering message; “ Don’t you wait for your teachers or schools to take you to these places- don’t even wait for your parents, these girls need you, this is relevant this is happening TODAY, every person sitting in this room has the ability to change a LIFE.”
Written by: Hannah Akhtar