One of the aspects of being a journalist that I love is the opportunity to meet so many different people, in all kinds of circumstances, in all kinds of lives. On my recent trip to Herat, I was able to visit a couple of girls’ schools. I attended the inauguration of the school’s first computer lab and as things were wrapping up, I peeked behind the curtain to see at least half a dozen tents filled with rows and rows of girls in matching white headscarves doing their lessons.
The school, which teaches girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon, simply doesn’t have enough classrooms. It was humbling to see these girls sitting cross-legged on the ground as their teacher went through the lessons armed only with a chalkboard smaller than the big screen TVs most of us have in our homes.
The school is located in a poorer area of the city and many of the girls come from conservative homes. Just being able to attend school is a very big deal. Having computers and Internet access, one student told me, is her connection to the rest of the world.