In 2011, indigo foundation provided seed funding to establish the Women’s Empowerment Centre (WEC) under the Directorship of Nasima Rahmani at the Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education in Kabul. The WEC runs a scholarship program for educationally and financially disadvantaged Afghan women and provide capacity building opportunities for female students. Since 2011, the Centre has gone from strength to strength – initiating academic and non-academic courses on gender, peace and women’s studies and becoming an active voice in campaigns and networks addressing the many life challenges that Afghan women face. The WEC has also recently been subsumed into what is now the Gawharshad University and, with the WEC now attracting funding and recognition from around the world, indigo foundation is in the process of exiting the partnership.
The latest round of scholarships, supported by indigo foundation, was awarded in September after universities reopened following the lock down. The Gawharshad Scholarship Committee selects students on the basis of financial need and school scores, as well as home visits and interviews with family. Sumaya is one of the five most recent scholarship recipients.
The WEC writes “Sumaya comes from a poor family. She has two sisters who are school students and one brother who is jobless. Her mother is a guard in Gawharshad University and her father is sick. Her mother’s income is not for all expense of their life. [Sumaya was already on a 50% scholarship but] … because Sumaya’s family has been faced more difficulties since spread of Covid-19 in Afghanistan and now her family is not able to pay the half of Sumaya’s tuition fee … Considering all her problems in the current situation the scholarship committee decided 50% more scholarship to her. Somaya studies economy and she is in her fourth semester.”