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Informal seminar with Afghani trainees on “The Lives of Afghani Women”


A program for Afghani women trainees was held at Ochanomizu University from January 20 to 30 with the support of the Nonoyama Endowment for Women’s Education in Afghanistan and Other Developing Countries. This year, which marked the second round of the program, the teacher who completed a master’s program at Ochanomizu as a government-sponsored foreign student, and the undergraduate student from the Faculty of Pharmacy, undertook training on chemical experiments in our Faculty of Science.

Participating in the seminar
Taking advantage of this opportunity, an informal seminar entitled “The Lives of Afghani Women” was held on 24 January at the Global Collaboration Center. The seminar began with a presentation by Ms. Sultani, formerly a Visiting Researcher at the Global Collaboration Center. Born in Afghanistan and now residing in Japan, Ms. Suritani established the NGO Kibou no Gakkou (School of Hope) to support Afghani women, and is engaged in education and vocational training for women. Her presentation was followed by questions and comments from participants. The seminar was attended by students, teachers and others with an interest in peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

After all the participants had introduced themselves, Ms. Sultani presented numerous photographs of Afghani women’s lifestyles along with a commentary. She explained that in Afghanistan, most women get married around the age of 10 to a partner chosen by their parents, and then normally got already 3 children around the age of 20. The husband is usually many years older, and women whose husbands pass away before them are left with a grim future. What I found most shocking was that women in Afghanistan can’t determine their own lives and must entrust them to others. At Ochanomizu, I’m learning how to become a leader and how to operate on an international stage as part of an education that will empower me to shape my own life. In Afghanistan, however, there are many women who can’t receive the kind of education I’ve taken for granted, and who instead have to live as their parents or their husband dictate. Ms. Sultani says that education is the real key. Education changes women’s awareness and frees them from the social constraints with which they were formerly bound. That change is then passed on by mothers to their children. I dearly hope that education reaches Afghani women.

(Discussion with participants)

Where Afghanistan was always a distant country, attending the seminar brought it a little closer to me. I was thrilled to actually get the chance to speak with a student from Kabul University as part of the open discussion. Because the seminar was in English, it was a little difficult, but it also boosted my motivation to improve my English! I’m very grateful to everyone who was involved in providing this wonderful opportunity.

(Misaki Saito, First-year student,Department of Liberal Arts and Humanities,
Faculty of Letters and Education)

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