“I want to be a soldier in the Afghan army,” she declares proudly. “My army will reclaim our village and bring peace to the people of Samarkhail [her native region].”
Nazdana is a pupil at the school for the children of internally displaced people (IDP) set up by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) outside Jalalabad city in Nangarhar province. Ironically, it is Nazdana’s status as an IDP that has enabled her to have far bigger dreams than life in her deeply conservative community in Samarkhail would have allowed.
Forced to uproot because of fighting by insurgents, Nazdana’s family have spent eight years moving from one temporary settlement to another. Her father recently went to Iran to earn money to support the family, leaving her mother to as the decision-maker. And she decided to send three of her five daughters to the IDP school.
Nazdana and her sisters are probably the first girls in many generations of their family to get an education. The girls – 10, 12 and 13 years old – are now on a fast-track programme created by NRC for children of displaced families. The three-year course, called Education in Emergency, aims to bring children like them up to the seventh grade and help them reintegrate into Afghanistan’s formal secondary education system.
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