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University founded to give free education to women whose countries deny it

Afghan university students chant slogans and hold placards during a protest against the ban on university education for women. (Arshad Butt/AP)
Afghan university students chant slogans and hold placards during a protest against the ban on university education for women. (Arshad Butt/AP)

For Afghan women, the list of prohibitions is growing: Severe restrictions on working, no going to parks or gyms, no travel unaccompanied by male relatives, head coverings and — perhaps most painfully — no education beyond 6th grade, ending any opportunity for girls and women to develop careers and financial independence.

Kamal Ahmad is among those trying to change that for at least some Afghan women, as well as other women facing educational oppression in other countries. Ahmad is co-founder of the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh which offers full scholarships to women whose countries restrict higher education. It currently enrolls about 1,000 students representing 35 ethnicities with 350 from Afghanistan.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks to Ahmad and trauma psychiatrist Dr. Anne Hallward who helps counsel the women.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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