The Washington Post: For Afghan Girls’ Robotics Team, U.S. Visa Denial Was Last of Many Hurdles
July 11, 2017 — The Washington Post features the Foundation’s girls’ scholarship program in an article on U.S. education visas and the social and cultural barriers to higher education in Afghanistan:
Afghan families often oppose their daughters’ attending universities in Kabul or other cities, fearing for their safety and exposure to young men. Agencies that offer domestic scholarships, such as the nonprofit Asia Foundation, often have to negotiate with families or agree to support a male relative who can accompany the girl each semester.
Girls are also at a disadvantage in English and math, because Afghan families are more willing to pay for boys to take private classes. As a result, more girls fail college-entrance exams. To help even the balance, the U.S. Agency for International Development sponsors exam-prep classes for girls, and education officials have established a 30 percent female quota for all in-country scholarships.
“There is a chain of barriers for Afghan girls that requires a network of support to overcome,” said Razia Stanikzai of The Asia Foundation in Kabul, whose job is to promote Afghan female students’ participation in science and technology.
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