1 Year Scholar Cost Just £1,900

The Rahela Trust

The Rahela Trust was set up in response to the many attacks on girls and young women seeking an education across Afghanistan. Our mission is to provide scholarships to women from disadvantaged backgrounds to enable them to pursue higher education and, ultimately, to contribute to shaping a progressive Afghan society.

RT Director Speech for Mothers & Daughters Education Campaign

Click link below to download Dari-Version of info about Rahela Trust in PDF format.

صندق امانت راحله برای تحصیل دختران افغان

How many scholars the Rahela Trust have supported?

The Rahela Trust (RT) have been providing scholarships and mentorships to 36 disadvantaged girls in Kandahar, Kabul and Ghazni who come from Wardak, Ghour, Bamyan, Kapisa, Ghazni Kabul, Kandahar and Herat provinces. Five RT scholars have graduated, and four of them are working as managers and teachers in the government and private sector. One of the graduated scholars is on maternity leave. 14 RT scholars are currently studying in Kabul and Kandahar. Both graduated and current scholars of the RT have mentees at university for coaching and helping to raise awareness at the community for women. 95% of the RT scholars achieved marks between 70-98% on average.


How many scholars the Rahela Trust Will be supporting in March 2021?

The Rahela Trust (RT) is going to support a minimum of 10 scholars in Kandahar, Kabul and Helmand based on the availability of resources. Announcements that the application period for scholarships has opened will be posted on 5th October on university and FT websites, and will be shared with different departments around the universities, women’s centres, and Afghan women’s networks. The application will close on 5th Dec 2020. No applications will be accepted after 5th December. Rahela Trust Scholarship Selection Criteria The intention and rationale for focusing on women is due to the prolonged lack of access to education and professional opportunities, reinforced and justified by religion, culture, poverty and insecurity. The scholarships will enable some women to participate more fully in the development of Afghanistan, more specifically ensuring equitable representation of marginalized and vulnerable groups through increasing their access to education.

To be eligible for application to the RT the candidate should meet the following criteria:
• Is female and living in Afghanistan, between the ages of 16 and 30 years old. The age range has been stipulated due to the reason that the retirement age in Afghanistan is 60-65. This will enable opportunities to be available for those just accessing higher education as part of their career path, but also opens up opportunities to older women. These are women who have had to abandon their studies for various reasons and enables them to apply for senior level
government jobs and develop their capacity in management through leadership training;
• Has proven eligibility for entry to higher education but have been unable to take up a place due to economic reasons and other pressures;
• Is recommended by a partner institution or by another Institution such as an NGO;
• Has a degree (70-100% graduating grade) from high school;
• Financially disadvantaged, lacking financial resources to continue education;
• Has a passion for education, and exceptional academic ambition and promise;
• Has solidarity with other women, a desire to combat discrimination, and is prepared to support other female students; and
• Provides a complete application (details below). Priority will be given to female students from rural areas, and to ensuring that scholars represent the diversity of Afghanistan, in terms of ethnicity and regional background. Applications will not be accepted from relatives of anyone involved in any
part of the process of submission or selection for scholars. Applications from women with disabilities or from marginalized ethnic or religious groups are
particularly welcome. Process for Applications The shortlisting of applicants for the RT will be undertaken by the Oversight Committee in Afghanistan made up of representatives from: Universities/Academia, Women’s NGOs, educational charities/bodies.

There are 3 stages for the selection of the applicants:

Stage One: In this long listing stage, university academia committee members including the RT coordinator will exclude non-eligible applicants.
Stage Two: Screening the long list will take place by the full committee and relevant RT Coordinator. RT coordinator will visit the highest scoring candidates, at home. Where applicants live in distant provinces crosschecking will take place through cooperation with civil society organizations. A shortlist will be generated.
Stage Three: In this final stage the Trustees and Director of the trust will assess all the shortlisted applicants to ensure the RT criteria and its partner university’s policies have been considered. The final selection and announcement will then be undertaken. The selected candidates, the parents of the scholars and associated community leaders will sign a joint letter of commitment.

Positive peace and grassroots women’s proactive participation

“The key factors for building sustainable peace are grassroots women’s education and their proactive engagement in the process.”  Rahela Sidiqi (8/3/2021)

The importance of women’s education.

Through the power of education and knowledge, women have become Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, and yet only 24.9 percent of national parliamentarians are women. At the current rate of progress, gender equality among Heads of Government will take another 130 years.[1]In spite of the challenges they have faced, the achievement of Afghanistan’s women leaders in the peace and development process has been significant. However, they still have a long and uncertain path to walk and face many obstacles.

Afghan women in civil society, such as in the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), play a very effective role in engaging women from different walks of life. They work to establish coalitions and increase advocacy with calls for action via press releases, position papers,conferencesand discussion panels. This is a collective effort with around 150 umbrella organisations and individual members. As one of the founders of the AWN I would like to emphasisethe role it has played in supporting women to raise their voices. Conveying women’s demands and concerns to the negotiation team through meetings has been highly effective and has had a significant impact.

Educated Afghan women also contribute to the peace process through their activities in the socio-economic arena. They exert influence through representation in the Afghan Parliament – where they occupy 25% of the seats. They also make an impact in other  walks of life, influencing changes to the policy and structure of the legal framework. For example, women leaders helped to shape the  Afghan Constitution, civil service law, labour law, civil law and the elimination of violence against women.

Today we have 150 proactive charities and 1,700 female-led businesses, who mostly hire women as employees. For example, the Kandahar Treasure Company, whose owner Rangeena Hamidi is presently Minister of Education, has 120 female employees. Mohd, the owner of a pure juice company, has 10 female employees in his company.

Women leaders emerge through education, which in turn gives them the ability to recognize and correct wrongs in society. Educated female leaders have a voice and are able to influence the issues that affect women’s lives. The more female leaders there are, the more women will be lifted from  poverty to stand on their own feet. Education enables them to influence the rights, roles and responsibilities that impact on women’s lives. Through the empowerment of female leaders, women’s constitutional rights in voting, education, employment and elsewhere can be  implemented to the fullest extent.

Already the influence of women  on the development and implementation of civil service, labour law and civil law  has positively affected the opportunities for women’s employment and civil rights, butthere is a still a long way to go and many challenges.

Today,15.5m of Afghanistan’s 31.6m population are women. As half of the population they should participate significantly in the peace and development process. Afghan women’s achievements should be protected by the international, national, and regional authorities – and by the Taliban who are engaged in peace talks.

There are 4,000 women in the police force, and around3,000 in the army2. Over 6,000 women are judges, and there are 101,150 women in higher education.

There are 66,067 female teachers, 117 females in the private sector, 10 deputy ministers andfour Ambassadors, along with several women diplomats[2], and 24% of the Civil Service are women. Currently, 40% of primary school pupils are girls.[3]

Moreover, there are thousands of women in sports, which was not previously common practice in Afghanistan. Several women have won medals, and Samia Ghulami  is the first femaleTaekwondo fighterto win a gold medal in an international match.  There are several other ‘firsts’ –  the first pilot Nilofar Rahmani, the first mayor Uzra Jafari, the first woman journalist Asma Rasmia –  and many others grassroots champions. Women at grassroot levels have seen remarkable achievements due to the benefit of education.

However, the focus should go beyond these numbers. There is need for support and investment on the ground for mothers and daughters’ education and engagement across rural Afghanistan.

The Rahela Trust’s19 BA and BSc scholars come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are practically contributing to support mother and daughter education in the community, university, and work environment. They are providing life-skills education to women in their local areas, to their classmates, and at their workplace.  For example, Amina Omid, one of the graduate scholars of The Rahela Trust, is the director of a magazine called Hamasai Taghir. She mentors five scholars and helps raise awareness amongst mothers about girls’ education and ways of supporting their daughters. Negeena Saeedi, another Rahela Trustscholar, used her pocket money to help 30 mothers during Covid-19. This summer other scholars are working on changing societal attitudes towards women.

Women’s shelters in Kabul Mazar and Herathave been very helpful to women who face domestic violence. Several women’s sports and martial arts clubs have been established and are led by women, as a new type of women’s activities in Afghanistan. Liqa Isazada described her first visit to a martial arts club as ‘ inspiring’.[4]

The 2021 UNICEFdescribes Basira, a 12th grade student in Kandahar, who teaches 18 schoolgirls in her local area.[5]


“The international community still spends just $1 on conflict prevention for every $1,885 it spends on military budgets.[6]” (Tina R Moul, 2016)

There are continued challenges to operating in many districts across Afghanistan due to war, conflict and fighting between the Government and insurgents. Girls’ schools have been burned or closed in some districts of Afghanistan where there is no security, and families are not allowing their daughters to travel too far to attend school.

  • 7 million children are out of school! This is 42% of school children, but girls comprise at least over 60% of ‘out of school’ children[7]. Women at state universities are 2% less in comparison to 2018. This could be because of insecurity or unavailability of state universities in rural provinces as the number of females at private sector universities hasincreased.
  • Likewise, there has been a2% decrease in the number of state hospitals[8]. A health practitioner who wished to remain anonymous said: “I am a nurse in Samangan. The clinics there have been closed for four months and the lives of new-born babies and pregnant mothers are at risk.
  • One woman was due to deliver her baby but had to travel for two hours on a donkey to reach the hospital. When she arrived, the hospital’s doors were closed. She lost her life and her baby, after a four hour wait – due to snow, bleeding and cold weather!”[9] Several women from Khost, Paktia, Paktika and Logar -all insecure areas-confirm that in most areas girls schools are closed and in areas not directly insecure, but nearby, mothers say they are afraid of sending their daughters to school[10].


  • The Taliban claim that they will protect women’s rights under sharia law, but they don’t clearly state which form of sharia.Afghanistan is an Islamic country and its constitution is based on sharia law. The practice of sharia in Indonesia, for example, is  permissive; it allows women to access education and, crucially, employment[11].


  • Afghan women have already suffered enough due to war and violence. AWN research shows that 30% of women have been warned by men with guns to stop going to school and university. Over 90% of women who have guns in their household are too frightened to speak about their rights of marriage, education or work if it is denied by male family members.[12]


  • Sport and journalism are attractive careers among young women but they face obstacles in both due to social and traditional norms. For example, the director of a cycling unit, MsAbozai, in her Solo TV interview said that when girls went for cycling practice they received insults from some community members while car drivers and other (male) cyclists blockedthe Many female journalists have also been attacked.  There are many systemic factors that impact on women who want to explore opportunities, ranging from hostility to lack of resources. Social-cultural, political and humanitarian crises havealso negatively impacted on women’s lives. Girls’ educationisparticularly affected – for example, by the shortageof female teachers, poor facilities and  lack of appropriate sanitation at schools and universities.  Issues like early marriage, traditional and social pressures are continuing challenges.


These obstacles can only be overcome by a comprehensive and organic approach tograssroots capacity building among women – and their active engagement in the peace process.Through education, starting at basic levels, systemic awareness and confidence can be nurtured so that women can become active participants in the peacebuilding process. This involves equipping them with valuable project management, fundraising and leadership skills. Through mentorship programmes, skills like peacebuilding, civic engagement and conflict resolution will empower them to become change-makers and peace leaders in Afghanistan.


We need to build a culture of sustainable, inclusive, and achievable peace in Afghan communities, starting from the household and expanding to communities and beyond. And lastly, we need to expand the network of women equipped to participate in peacebuilding in Afghanistan, through cooperation, confidence-building, and community engagement.


As Tina Roliolle Moul acknowledges, this will not be easy, taking into account the realities and constraints of poverty, the crisis situation[13], and the post conflict legacy.



[1]International women’s day (2021), https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/international-womens-day?gclid=Cj0KCQiAyoeCBhCTARIsAOfpKxjzF7F5_1eQRfQCf visit on 5th March 2021

[2] Afghan Women Network Position paper series 93, (August,2019), Women Position for inter Afghan peace talk

[3] Achieving result for Afghanistan children,(2015-2021), Programme briefs (Education).pdf (unicef.org)


[4]Photos: Afghan women assert themselves with martial arts | Sports-photos – Gulf News, visited on: 6 March 2021



[6] Tina Robiolle –Moul,( June, 2016), P EACE E D U C A T I O N I N F R A G I L E S TATES A c a s e s t u d y o f t h e i n f l u e n c e o f g l o b a l d i s c u s si o n s o f p e a c e e d u c a t i o n i n c o n f l i c t s e t ti n g s o n n a t i o n a l e d u c a t i o n p o l i c y a n d l o c a l N G O e f f o r t s i n A f g h a n i s t a n, , Tina Robiolle – Google Scholar visited: 7 March 2021


[7] Achieving result for Afghanistan children,(2015-2021), Programme briefs (Education).pdf (unicef.org)

[8] Office of Statistic 3rd quarter 2019 report. گزارشادارۀملیاحصائیهومعلومات؛ ازافزایشکارکنانخدماتملکیتاکاهشمحصلیندانشگاههایدولتی (avapress.com)

[9] Author telephone communication in Samangan:  Telephone  message 15th Feb 2021

[10] Author telephone communication with ananunemus person in Khost province.

[11] (John R. Allen & Vanda Felbab-Brown, September 2020) The fate of women’s rights in Afghanistan (brookings.edu), Visit on 4th March 2021

Tina Robiolle -Moul, (June,2012), Peace Education in fragile state, Tina Robiolle – Google Scholar, visited 6 March 2021

[12]Affect of  illegal weapon and violence against women, AWN-UNwomen  October 2020, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bNJdMzVC3M9_zl-G3lUv0YHNYkzf3t3B/view?usp=sharing

[13]    Tina Robiolle Moul, (2017), Promotion and implementation of global citizenship education in crisis situations; 2017 (gcedclearinghouse.org)

Social development: Expertise and funding.


“It is education and knowledge that enhance innovation and inventors in the world.” – Rahela Sidiqi, Director of the Rahela Trust.

Afghanistan has the legal framework to protect women’s rights through its Constitution, labour laws, civil laws. Civil Servant Law and Elimination of Violence Against Women have been signed and ratified and are underpinned by CEDAW and UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

But there are challenges and barriers that block women from progress.

In addition, political leadership positions are given to women and they are doing their best to do the job effectively.  For example, we have 27% female MPs in the lower house and 21% in the upper house, 240 judges, 2 ministers, 3 independent chairs, 12 deputy ministers, 3 ambassadors and many diplomats. There are 3,126 women in the police, 1,179 in the Army, 3,755 doctors, 85,177 female civil servants and 800 businesswomen; $77m, through 1,700 private sector areas, is invested for women’s economic empowerment. Afghanistan’s first lady Rula Ghani is proactive in the manner of queen Soraya Tarzi, therefore connecting the women rights activists is more closely to the palace then ever before.[1]

According to  Human Rights Watch (HRW) Afghanistan is still one of the worst places for women to live and honour killing is still common practice.[2]  Just last week, it became known that a woman in Faryab had been beaten continually by her husband and father-in-law, for five years. This took place because she was exchanged with her brother’s wife at an early age, under the badal system. She is just 17 years old and her body is marked with burns from boiling water and knife cuts.[3]

– 87% of Afghan women face violence.
– 70-80% of Afghan women marry before the age of 16.
– 80% of all Afghan suicides are women.[4]

Most unemployment issues in Afghanistan are related to lack of education, knowledge and skills[5]. 80% of the group who are suffering are women. In rural areas, stoning, abuse and beating inside the home is still common.  In the workplace, harassment of women is not adequately addressed.

There is a huge need for female doctors. For example, there is just one (female) physician per 5,000 women.