PAKTIKA (Agencies): A school to be built in southeastern Afghanistan will be named after an illiterate villager who walked his daughters 12 kilometres to the nearest schoolhouse to support their education, the Afghan government said.
Mia Khan, a 63-year-old resident of Sharana in Paktika province, went viral on social media for taking his daughters to the only girls’ school in the area in the hopes they would one day become doctors.
The ministry of education said in a statement on Thursday that the school would be built in Khan’s village, calling him “the hero of education” for devoting himself to his daughters’ schooling.
On Wednesday, Mirwais Balkhi invited Khan to his office and described the man’s efforts as an inspiration for overcoming obstacles in the education of girls in Afghanistan, especially those living in remote areas.
Khan, who suffers from heart disease, said he and his daughters travelled most often by foot to the school, though they occasionally used a motorbike.
He used to wait outside the school during their lessons before walking his children back home, he said.
The education of girls in Afghanistan is a pressing issue. According to the United Nations, an estimated 3.7 million children are out of school in Afghanistan – 60 per cent of them girls.
The government struggles to provide education services in remote areas due to lack of security or funding, leading some Afghans to take matters into their own hands.
Shah Younus Khan, an elderly man in Afghanistan’s central province of Daikundi, built a school on his property and hired instructors to teach around 120 students, the provincial governor spokeswoman Sakina Ehsani said.