07 July 2020

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Friday October 25, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Like the princess who hops over goblins and throws daggers at evil wizards in the video game they built, a team of women coders in patriarchal Afghanistan wants to inspire a generation of girls to smash obstacles.
The young women are part of an after-school training program called Code to Inspire in the western city of Herat, where they learn tech skills and create games and apps to educate girls across Afghanistan and beyond.
Their highest-profile success has been this year's release of "Afghan Hero Girl", built over six months by 12 young women, a phone app in which a princess wearing a green veil leaps around a crumbling castle in a quest to defeat a wizard and rescue her family.
Fereshteh Forough, a computer science teacher and a former refugee who founded Code to Inspire in 2015, said students were sick of the lack of female representation in the gaming industry and told her they were bored of "playing games where men are superheroes".
The game represents "the challenges and obstacles that women are facing every day in Afghanistan and despite all the backlashes they keep fighting and going through it," Forough, who is now based in New York, said in an email exchange with AFP.
In a country where girls often have only limited educational opportunities, internet access is patchy and women face deeply ingrained discrimination at every turn, Forough sees tech skills as having a transformative potential.
Like many Afghans, she worries about an eventual return to power of the Taliban, who during their brutally repressive rule in the 1990s banned women from working or going outside the house.
"By learning how to code you can do online remote work from the safety of your house if you (can) access the internet," she said.
"The work that we do ... is about equality, empowerment and change so that these young ladies are able to add value to their communities and fight for their social, political and economic equality," she added.
- 'Get educated faster' -
Women's rights and education for girls have made significant gains since the fall of the Taliban nearly two decades ago, but challenges remain as the insurgents frequently attack girls' schools and threaten female students.
Afghanistan's ongoing war, now in its 19th year, resulted in more than 1,000 schools being closed by the end of 2018, UNICEF said, depriving some 500,000 children of their right to learning. A disproportionate number of these -- about 60 percent -- are girls.
"In the worst case scenario if the Taliban limit women's presence to the work space, (tech is) a skill that can get them beyond their doorsteps," Forough said.
The games and apps are both educational and entertaining. Some include memories of the coders or are based on true stories.
For instance, in the "Fight Against Opium" game, soldiers are deployed on a mission to poppy-growing Helmand province. It was based on a true story of one of the coders' brothers who was deployed to the southern province.
"My main goal as a game and app developer is to make as many educational games for girls as possible," Code to Inspire student Nasrin Wahidy said in a recent visit by AFP to the Herat school where the program is based.
"We want the girls to learn and get educated faster through games."
Another game teaches young Afghans how to recognize the geography of their country by showing them where each province is located.
So far, Code to Inspire has taught more than 150 students to code, make games and apps, and develop websites.
"They will become a digital citizen of the world without considering geographical boundaries," Forough said.

Saturday, October 19, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The construction work of a girls schools building kick off in Taliqan city, Takhar province.
According to BNA report, the building of the school will be constructed from development budget of Education Ministry at the cost of 9, 3 million Afghanis.
The school will have 8 classrooms, administrative room and other educational facilities.
With completion work of the school, the problems of students will solve from lack of classrooms.
T. Yarzada

Thursday October 17, 2019
HERAT CITY (BNA) The construction work of two school buildings has been completed and put into exploitation in western Herat province.
Rohullah Azhad head of education department in Herat told BNA correspondent, the school buildings has been constructed with a cost of 16 million Afghanis by education department of Herat with cooperation of BRAC organization in Arfan Township.
The school buildings has capacity of 2000 students in a time, Azhad added.

Monday, October 07, 2019
Ghazni (BNA) The construction work of a girls’ high school began in Ghazni province yesterday.
Rana Najmi Deputy Director of Education Department of Ghazni told BNA local correspondent, the school will be constructed from development budget of Education Ministry at the cost of 8,500,000 Afghanis in Khak Ghareban village of the province.
The school will have 12 classrooms and other educational facilities and will be completed in the next six months.
By building this school, 800 students will have access to a suitable classrooms.
T. Yarzada

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