Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)
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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Thirty-five Afghan women took part in a graduation ceremony for the Fatima girls high school held at the Department of Women’s Affairs compound in Asadabad Feb. 23. Though only 35 attended the ceremony, 50 women earned diplomas.
Kansoom Bahar, one of the top 10 students in her class, plans to go to college to become a gynecologist.
“We want to improve the population of the students and women’s society,” Bahar said. “Education is very important in our lives.”
Female service members from the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team attended the ceremony.
“Attending the Fatima High School graduation gave us the opportunity to ask questions on the Afghan school process and educate us on what the young female students plan for their future,” said U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Jacqueline Riner, a Tifton, Ga., native and noncommissioned officer in charge of communications for Kunar PRT.
Each graduate received a gift in recognition of her hard work and dedication to her education. Three were recognized for outstanding achievement.
“I want everyone to succeed in the women’s society,” said Mina Rahmani, one of the girls recognized for outstanding achievement. “The women are the future and will bring peace and prosperity.”
Nargis Abassi, another top graduate, added, “I want a brighter future for all of the young girls in our society. Women should be able to become a doctor, an engineer, a scientist (or) part of Parliament.”
Shah Jahan, deputy director, Kunar Board of Education, also attended the graduation ceremony. He presented the girls with gifts and words of encouragement to further their education.
Nasima Sadat, director of women’s affairs, and her 16-year-old daughter Nadia, attended the graduation ceremony as well.
“I am grateful to see so many girls graduating, and I would like to thank the women of Kunar (PRT) for being here and showing their support,” Sadat said.
The women of Kunar PRT were grateful for being involved.
“The noteworthy thing for me was how these young women interacted with each other. Just like the young women of the States — giggling, whispering, getting together in groups. Some being shy, some very outgoing and charismatic,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Lynn Redman, a nurse practitioner with Kunar PRT from El Paso, Texas. “Then, they put on their burqas and disappeared into the day, each going their own way, some holding the hands of children.”
At the end of the graduation ceremony, the graduates congratulated each other and thanked their teachers, Sadat and Jahan, and the PRT representatives for encouraging them and supporting the graduation ceremony.
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