The following story is a personal account of Shukira, explaining how ELA Programme has changed her life, helping her to improve her life.

“I am Miss Shukira, literacy facilitator in a literacy course of Surkhrod district in Nangarhar province. This literacy course is organized under ELA programme of UNESCO and funded by the government of Japan. I am originally from Takhar province, born in the new city of Takhar, in a poor family in 1978. When I was born, my family consisted of my father, mother, sister, and a brother who had four children. When I was four years old, my brother, who was military officer, was martyred. My father, who was a retired Government official, got a heart attack and died after receiving news of my brother’s death. My mother also passed away from grief for my brother’s death.

We were left alone – a family of 2 sisters and 4 nephews. We did not have anyone to take care of us. One of my nephews turned 12 years old. He was going to the city to work and bring something for us to survive with it. Unfortunately he disappeared and we still don’t know if he is alive or dead. For several nights we did not have anything to eat. My uncle, who was living in Nangarhar province, when informed about our situation, came to Takhar province and took us with him to Nangarhar province. He married my sister to a person of his own choice, without even consulting her.

When I turned16, my uncle married me to his son while he had another wife. My life was very difficult. During this time, a literacy course, organized by UNESCO ELA programme, opened in my village. I was happily admitted in the course. I was eagerly following the literacy course. After my nine month literacy course, I became completely literate. Next year, I was appointed as a facilitator to another ELA literacy course in a different village.

I was teaching 50 literacy female learners in this course and getting salary in return. At the end of this literacy course, all 50 female students graduated. Now the third phase of ELA programme has started in Surkhrod district in 2014, in which I have been appointed as a literacy facilitator again. I have organized two courses for 50 female literacy learners, who will be literate after nine month literacy training.

Thanks to UNESCO’s ELA literacy course that has helped me during my difficult time in life. Now I am happy with my life. I have children and all of my children are going to school. My economic situation is good as well.

I wish to continue my education in private schools and private universities. It is worth mentioning that beyond teaching literacy course, I was elected as chief of my village women shura[1]. This was all thanks to literacy course that changed my life from my previous situation to the present situation.”

[1] Council


Source: UNESCO Afghanistan