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Since 2015, Rahela Trust has provided scholarships to 40 academically talented and disadvantaged girls across four provinces in Afghanistan.


     Scholarship implementation

The Trust operates scholarships in partnership with selected private (non-state) universities and third-level colleges, accredited by the Afghan Ministry for Education. 

We focus on developing relationships with institutions outside of the capital so to ensure we are accessible to women who are from the most underprivileged areas of Afghanistan which tend to be rural.

Recruiting new scholars

Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Rahela Trust took the executive decision to pause all recruitment for new scholars to focus attention on supporting existing scholars during the crisis. 

A year on [writing in August 2022], scholar recruitment will resume as normal.

Currently, we have 14 scholars studying in Afghanistan.

How it works



Stage One

Scholarships are advertised on the websites of Rahela Trust, our partner universities and the Afghan Women NGOs Network. We also maximise awareness through events and our community network.

 Candidates then apply with evidence of their academic achievements.

Stage Two

When the application window closes, a long list of applicants is generated by university and academia committee members, including Rahela Trust’s National Coordinators.

Stage Three

The long list is produced using a scoring system and is then fully screened by the Mixed Committee of Independent Academic and Civil Society in Afghanistan.

The highest scoring candidates are visited at home by a Rahela Trust Coordinator. Applicants who live in distant provinces have their applications checked by Rahela Trust in cooperation with civil society organisations.

Stage Four

Based on these findings, the shortlist is then produced.

Rahela Trust’s Board of Trustees and the Director assess the shortlist against the criteria and host remote interviews with prospective scholars [detailed below]. A final selection is announced and letters of commitment are dispersed to scholar parents and associated community members to sign. 

Selection Criteria



Our selection criteria is comprised of questions which reflect the philosophy underpinning Rahela Trust. We aim to recruit scholars who will not only thrive within an academic environment and do not have the economic means to do so without help but are also committed to positively developing the future of women and civil society in Afghanistan.

Examples include: ​

  • Does the applicant wish to apply for senior level government jobs and develop their capacity in management through leadership training?
  • Has the applicant already attended higher education, is registered, but had to drop out or has been in a period of limbo at home due to economic reasons or other pressures?
  • Is the applicant financially disadvantaged, or lacking financial resources to continue education?
  • Does the applicant come from a deprived family background with evidence of violence and/or abuse?
  • Does the applicant have a passion for education, an exceptional academic ambition or promise, with evidence of a high school degree (70 – 100 score)?
  • Does the applicant have solidarity with other women, a desire to combat discrimination, and is prepared to support other female students?
  • Does the applicant have a future plan to work in a leadership role?
  • Does the applicant have a commitment to women empowerment and solidarity building?