13-year-old Farzana is the only girl from her village going to school. She believes the oil ration will help persuade other parents to let their daughters come to school. Photo: WFP/Wahidullah Amani.
In Afghanistan, far more boys go to school than girls. WFP is trying to change that by providing food incentives for female students.
Char Dara is one of the most insecure districts in Kunduz province of northern Afghanistan. More than 27,000 children attend classes in the 51 operational schools in the area, but boys outnumber girls almost 2 to 1.
In order to help children attend school regularly and especially to get girls into classes, WFP is providing school meals to all 51 schools in the district. Children in grades one to nine receive locally-produced fortified cookies every day they go to school, and girl students get a supply of vegetable oil to take home to their families every month. We asked three girls in eighth grade what this food meant in their lives…
Farzana, 13 years old
“The biscuits are very tasty, and I am sure the oil is top quality. I will take this home and will tell my mom: this is a gift from WFP for you. I wish all the girls from my village were allowed to come to school. At the moment I am the only girl coming from my village. I know many girls in my village wish to come to school but their parents are not letting them. I am going to show the parents the oil and ask them to let their daughters to go to school so they will also be given oil and biscuits. I will ask my mom to help me with this.”
Adela Janat Gul, 14 years old
“I was living in Pakistan with my family as a refugee. Last year we returned to our own village in Char Dara district of Kunduz province. I am very happy that here is a school at which I can continue my studies. It’s very helpful to receive this vegetable oil and biscuits from WFP. My father is a farmer and he is the only one working to support our family. By taking this oil to my home I can contribute to my family’s expenses. I will encourage all the girls in my village to come to school since by attending classes regularly they will be not only be learning but also receiving oil and biscuits. Thanks to WFP for providing us with this food!”
Wahida, 15 years old
“We are seven sisters at home. Four of us are going to school; the other three are too young. The oil and biscuits distribution programme is an incentive programme. My father is a shopkeeper, and he is the only one supporting our family, my three sisters and I can help him. At least we won’t have to buy cooking oil because we will be given enough oil by WFP at school.”
Photos: WFP/Wahidullah Amani