In a desert area in between the Afghan and Pakistan border sits Mirji Village in the Rodat district of the Sheenwar tribal area. Over 250 boys and girls sit on the ground studying together in hopes for a better future. Despite the billions of dollars of donor aid that has poured into Afghanistan and Pakistan, tribal communities such as these have been trapped in time with no government support or international aid.
While researching the area, Hedaytullah Zaheer, an Afghan tribal liaison officer discovered the school and told his friend Jake Simkin who became intrigued and decided to visit. A cinematographer/photographer, director, and producer, Kabul-based Simkin has long been involved in education initiatives for Afghan youth. Simkin has led efforts to provide basics to the school such books, bags, and pens. Simkin and Zaheer are now working with the community to help raise 30 thousand dollars to build a school. The money raised is going to the community so they can provide basic shelter to create indoor classrooms, restrooms, a well for drinking water and a boundary wall.
To learn more about the school and offer support, contact Jake Simkin:
Hedaytullah Zaheer, an Afghan Tribal Liasion Officer, discovered the school while conducting research on the area. It is 10km from the Pakistan border. Photo taken by Jake Simkin
They are teaching practical schooling. It isn't a madrassa or run by wahabi education which predominately engage in the ignored areas of Afghanistan teaching mainly very prejudice versions of Islamic thought. Photo taken by Jake Simkin
The problem about no man's land is no one is interested in supporting it with programs. So much money is spent in Kabul and major cities when really programs need to be taken to rural areas. The people need to survive so tribally they decide their future. Photo taken by Jake Simkin
Even without money, the school still functions. Photo taken by Jake Simkin
Educating a girl not only makes her intelligent but gives her the ability to teach her own children in the future and foresee even the monetary stability of a family. Photo taken by Jake Simkin
The perception is often negative but the truth is Islam is their foundation. It is their culture that needs more addressing rather than their Islamic beliefs. It can feel shameful for a wife to have a salary higher than the man's but everyday the mindset is slowly changing. Photo taken by Jake Simkin
Follow Rahilla Zafar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rahilla