In the western province of Herat, a pioneering initiative has been launched by a local woman to establish a training center offering miniature art classes to young girls who have been denied education due to the Islamic Emirate's ban on secondary schools for female students.
Maria Arbabzada, the center's founder, has successfully enrolled nearly 50 students and is determined to support girls who possess a strong desire to learn despite the challenges they face.
“Our primary goal is to assist the girls here who are keen and resilient,” stated Arbabzada.
The girls attending the center express that their engagement in art has not only provided a sense of purpose but also rescued them from feelings of hopelessness that stemmed from being confined to their homes and coping with daily depression.
Lina, one of the students, shared her enthusiasm for art and her aspirations to further develop her skills. “This gives us hope. I love it. I want to continue growing through this art form, as I have already made significant progress," she expressed.
The recent series of restrictions imposed by the Islamic Emirate, which prohibits women from attending schools, universities, and working at NGOs, has sparked widespread concern.
Zahra Ghulami, a student who attends the art classes, highlighted the importance of education in a country's development. "When a nation has a high illiteracy rate, it hampers progress in terms of knowledge and industry," she remarked.
Saeeda Habibi, another student, emphasized girls' aspirations for self-improvement, job opportunities, and financial independence. "We strive to grow just like men, have careers, earn our own income, and become self-reliant," she asserted.
The closure of secondary schools for girls and the restrictions on women attending universities have prompted significant national and international backlash, reflecting the gravity of the situation.