Text folgt

The women’s education centre Shahrak, Afghanistan – Educational work for a self-determined life

“At Shahrak, I can exchange my ideas and feelings with other women. It gives me power and encourages me in my efforts to gain own money with sewing. With this, I can facilitate my daughter going to school longer!” A participant in the women’s education centre, Shahrak, Photo: © DAI (German-Afghan-Initiative)At Shahrak, I can exchange my ideas and feelings with other women. It gives me strenght and encourages me in my efforts to gain own money with sewing. This way, I can enable my daughter to continue attending school!
A participant in the educatinal programm.
Photo: © DAI (German-Afghan-Initiative)
Project area: Shahrak, Afghanistan (located west of Herat)

Supported by TDF since: 2004

Target group: girls and women, especially members of the Shiite Hazara minority, affected by poverty and unemployment


  • According to Human Rights Watch, nearly 90% of Afghan women report human rights abuses, like forced marriage, sexual abuse, forced prostitution and abduction.
  • Despite the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women (signed into force in 2009) and the legislation on gender equality, attacks on women and feminist activists or politicians are frequent.
  • Close to 80% of Afghan women are illiterate (UNESCO).
  • Women constantly fear the resurgence of a fundamentalist (Taliban) regime.

Project activities:

A secret school for girls under the Taliban regime gave the impetus for the founding of Shahrak in 2003, which has been made possible with the help of the German-Afghan Initiative (DAI), Freiburg.

The women’s education centre pursues several objectives:

  • Access to education: In the centre, women who lack the possibilities or financial means are taught in reading and writing, among others, supporting them on their way to economic independence.
  • Raising awareness for women’s rights: Workshops inform girls and women about their rights and open the possibility to reflect upon female role models in the local socio-cultural and religious context. This way, discriminative role models are questioned, and the self-confidence of the participants is strengthened.
  • Meeting point: Shahrak is a place of exchange for women in distress, e.g. because of domestic violence or discrimination. It is one of the few places in the region, where women can escape rigid and male-dominated structures.
  • Free development: Shahrak is a place where women can recognize and unfold their full potential.


  • Many girls and women have taken part in the courses to prepare for higher education or a new job. Former course participants continue organizing debates in the Shahrak facilities.
  • The work of the women’s education centre has been challenging and gradually changing the perception of women’s role models in the city of Shahrak. Women have been invited regularly to public events, and political authorities visit the centre on occasions like the World Women’s Day.
  • Also, the legal advice services offered by the centre have established themselves successfully in the city.

Project leader: Aqela Nazari

Contacts: Voluntary project coordinator Gauhar Besmil (afghanistan@frauenrechte.de)
or TERRE DES FEMMES – International Cooperation (iz@frauenrechte.de)

Your support is needed:

  • for the operational activities of the women’s centre
  • to keep up the diverse course offer
  • for the acquisition of sewing machines and other educational materials
  • for the promotion of the sewn products
  • for the remuneration of qualified teachers and instructors

Support Shahrak with a one-time donation or contribute regularly and become a sponsor.

You can also donate with the key word “Afghanistan” on the following account:

IBAN DE35 8309 4495 0103 1160 00