How I Became a Literacy 

Teacher in My Community

Mohsina, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

SDGs 4: Quality Education, 5: Gender Equality

My name is Mohsina. I was born into a middle-class family in Takhar Province, Afghanistan.
When I was five years old, I was enrolled in a government school and, luckily, I was allowed to finish my primary education.

When the SDGs were created in 2015, Agrium recognized that these 17 goals provided a structure that we could both work within and meaningfully contribute to. An enticing prospect, to be sure. We see the goals as ambitious, but interrelated, meaning that we see how progress towards one goal can have a positive ripple effect on others as well.

In the agriculture industry, we have seen firsthand how an increased crop yield can not only reduce hunger by increasing the amount of food available but by selling the surplus, can open a number of extraordinary opportunities that would otherwise not be available for farming families currently living at subsistence levels.

“We see the goals as ambitious, but interrelated… we see how progress towards one goal can have a positive ripple effect on others as well.”

After graduating from primary education, I was accepted at Balkh University. However, concerned for my safety, my brothers did not allow me to continue my studies. A few months ago, I heard about a job posting for a literacy teacher at Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) in my village. I applied, passed the written test and interview, and was hired. Today, I have 45 students who I teach in my own house, half of them in the morning, and half in the afternoon. 

My classes are made up of adult women who have never attended a formal or non-formal education program before, so I use various methods like using flashcards, pictures, and reading books. After just two months, my students had learned how to read and write all Dari alphabets, along with some simple words. I hang my students’ work on the classroom walls to give them encouragement. So far, they are very excited to be in class and to learn new things! 

As they acquire reading and writing skills, many of my students have joined tailoring or other vocational training programs. I am proud of their achievements and happy that my students are becoming active in their communities. 

A few months ago, I participated in a Life Skills Workshop conducted by CW4WAfghan. We received hygiene and first aid kits, which was really wonderful because it was the first time that women in my village were able to come together to discuss pregnancy and health issues. 

Now, I am able to conduct this workshop for my own students. I hope to teach them how to manage their income and expenses better, how to practice better hygiene and nutrition for themselves and for their families, and how to take care of themselves during and after pregnancy. 

I no longer face any familial constraints, because I have convinced my family that getting an education and teaching is a part of my life. I will not give this up for any reason. Education is the only power that a person can have forever; it is the power that Afghan women need the most.