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Education against all odds: Job skills open up new world

Afghanistan, April 10, 2012

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Afghanistan is one of the world's toughest places to be a woman. Conflict and cultural repression have denied women education, careers, safety and equal rights. But less than a year after opening our INVEST vocational training center to women in Helmand province, more than 900 have enrolled to learn English, computers, sewing, embroidery and calligraphy.

In this video, see what life is like for Shamsiya and hear what she dreams of now that she has the chance to study and earn an income.

The classes allow women to get an education outside the home for the first time in a generation. Some of our students are older, illiterate widows who were begging on the street before getting skills to run a small business at home. Others, like Shamsiya, are young and dream of attending college, working in offices or and becoming teachers themselves. All still face threats and uncertainty, but bravely move forward to seize every opportunity they can — and work toward a better future for women in Afghanistan.

Investing in girls makes an impact that transcends generations and borders. See what a girl can do ▸

2014 Update: Over 5,500 women have graduated from our INVEST program in the past three years. Last summer marked another groundbreaking moment: the opening of the first market where women can sell their wares outside the home.