On March 10, 2022, Slater International Center and the Wellesley Centers for Women co-sponsored “International Women’s Day: Women in the World,” an in-person and virtual event featuring guest speaker Pashtana Durrani. Durrani is a visiting fellow at WCW and an Afghan human rights activist and community development expert whose focus is girls’ education.

“As I stand in front of you to make this speech, I can't help but think about the girls who haven't been in school for the past six months in Afghanistan,” said Durrani. “I can't help but think about the activists who are now unable to leave Afghanistan because they're missing in Afghanistan. I can't help but think about all the women all across the world who didn't wage the war, who didn't start the war, but are the first victims of war.”

Durrani shared a video about LEARN Afghanistan (@LearnAfg), the grassroots organization she founded to safely and securely provide education to girls through a distributed network of tablet computers using an offline platform. Through LEARN, she has developed models for education, healthcare, and menstrual hygiene management. LEARN has educated 7,000 girls and boys in Kandahar, Afghanistan, trained more than 80 teachers in digital literacy, and trained 700 girls in menstrual hygiene management.

At WCW, she is continuing her research to help Afghan women and girls pursue education and support the health of Afghan mothers and babies.

Durrani concluded her remarks by offering advice to the many Wellesley students in attendance. “Build your own tribe, and believe in yourself,” she said. “Be passionate about something that will take you out of your bed on Monday morning. Be passionate about something that makes you happy about Mondays.”


March 10, 2022

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