Blossom Hill Update: Taliban Threatens Women’s Right to Education


UNICEF/Christine Nesbitt

Girls attend an Accelerated Learning Centre (ALC) class in Wardak Province in the central region of Afghanistan.

Ale Lewis '23, Editor-in-Chief

“Today, Afghanistan is a country that risks losing an entire generation of educated women that are essential for its development. No country, including Afghanistan, can advance without half its population” (Rosy Nimroody). 

In Afghanistan, rights for women are non-existent. Since 2021, the Taliban has imposed restrictive measures that oust women from civil society at every level. Significantly, Afghan women are no longer granted the fundamental human right to education. 

On February 1st, Rosy Nimroody shed light on the current situation for girls in Afghanistan to the LiveGirl Leadership Council.

Nimroody works as Deputy Director at Blossom Hill, a nonprofit foundation that funds innovative ideas to help children affected by conflict in the Middle East. St. Luke’s parent Shiva Sarram founded Blossom Hill in 2009. For the past 14 years, the foundation has supported 80,000 children in 23 different countries.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban allows girls to attend primary school, but the education is limited to Koranic and Islamic teachings, and the Taliban prohibits girls from entering secondary school, high school, and college. Sadly, the Taliban decision takes 2.5 million people out of school.

Nimroody said, “Everybody has a right to education. The only country in the entire world that has suspended access to any kind of education for girls and women is Afghanistan.”

The Taliban’s gender-based discriminatory policies extend beyond the classroom. According to VOA news, the Taliban ordered women to cover their faces and bodies in public, banned women from entering parks and sports centers, and introduced a new rule that allows girls as young as 13 to be married.

With the Taliban’s return to power, scores of adults lost their jobs. Nimroody predicts that many girls will be forced into early marriages because it is economically helpful for the family to have one less mouth to feed.

Nimroody said, “These restrictions have turned the lives of these women into a living prison.”

Prior to the Taliban takeover, Afghan women were making extraordinary strides in education. From 2001 to 2018, the number of girls in primary school increased from zero to two and a half million, and the number of women in higher education increased twenty times.

Nimroody said, “The Taliban threatens to wipe out all the gains that women have made over the last 20 years. Girls were attending universities, excelling in their professions, participating in international organizations, traveling, [and] having a tremendously positive impact on their communities.”

The situation for Afghan girls is dire. Nevertheless, Blossom Hill continues the fight for women’s rights. Blossom Hill established four programs for Afghan girls: Code to Inspire, Tailoring and Literacy Program, Sisters 4 Sisters, and Entrepreneurship and Leadership Center.

Nimroody said, “Being a refugee is unfortunately stigmatized, but it is a very human story. It is a human story of loss, of lack of control, of not having a choice. But, we are very grateful that we can operate these four programs, in spite of the Taliban, for these refugees.”

The Taliban control does not deter Blossom Hill but compels the organization forward. The bravery of each Blossom Hill fellow is commendable.

How can St. Luke’s students help? Nimroody said students can raise awareness by sharing Blossom Hill’s social media posts. Next, students can donate money to the organization. Nimroody said, “Every dollar matters. It truly truly does.” For more information on how to get involved with Blossom Hill, contact the SLS Feminism Club!