Roya Mohammadi, Afghanistan
"Afghanistan will only become a stable country if its people become well educated”
Roya graduated from UWC-USA in 2006. She went to study a bachelors degree in Economics and Government at Smith College and also serves as a member of the Women Affairs Development Committee for His Highness the Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Afghanistan. Her UWC experience changed every aspect of her education. As well as providing her with the basic resources needed to learn it also instilled in her an appetite to help empower other women from her home country.
“I went to a public school in Kabul prior to attending UWC” Roya explains. “In 2002 schools were just reopening in Afghanistan after years of civil wars and the fall of the Taliban regime. We did not have professional teachers, updated text books, extra-curricular activities or any essential study materials at school. UWC was a new world to me, the quality of education, the environment, even the text books – everything was so different to what I had experienced in my previous school.”
At UWC Roya studied amongst a diverse and challenging group of young people selected from all over the world. Diversity at UWC extends to socio economic, cultural, racial and religion as well as nationality and looks to solve tensions within and across society as well as between countries. The experience has helped her to better understand and appreciate Afghanistan’s own diversity. “Inside and outside of my house, I try to encourage people how to welcome diversity” Roya explains. “To be creative and introduce new ideas is important in every step of our lives. Since Afghanistan is such a diverse country with many tribes and languages, it is important for Afghans to know how to get along well with each other and live together in peace. It is vital for our country’s democracy to work.”
Through her UWC education Roya has developed a commitment to expanding the educational opportunities of other young people from Afghanistan. She sees education as the most important tool in making sure that the war, inequality, poverty and corruption that she has experienced do not ravage future generations in the same way.
“In my opinion, Afghanistan will only become a stable country if its people become well educated” Roya says. “Although it is important for both males and females to be educated, in Afghanistan’s patriarchal society is it the woman who is more responsible for the family, particularly for raising the children – it goes without saying that children will benefit much more from being raised by an educated mother.”
Roya also believes that an increase in the standard of education in Afghanistan will begin to solve gender disparity in her country. “In the long term, when girls are educated to learn that they have equal rights to their male counterparts, gender issues will begin to disappear. In public, as educated women begin to have a great impact on their work environment Afghan men will learn that women have the potential to become future leaders too.”