It been said that “When you educate a girl, you educate a nation”. Yet, the key to making this work is often overlooked – empowering and supporting mothers.

This is not a new issue in countries such as Afghanistan which has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. The impact of child poverty has been extensively researched. Therefore, making mothers the priority is the keystone of programs such as who provide Afghan mothers with funds to feed and educate their children. In a country where over one million women are widowed, and the average income is $280 a year, a mother’s priority is to feed and cloth her children and ensure they have suitable shelter. Once mothers have the resources to protect their family, there is nothing they want more than to see their children educated.

This has been proven over and over again. When a mother is in control of funds her children have a better chance of receiving an education. A stirring example is Mahara of Kunduz. She was widowed at 24 years of age and has 2 young children. She struggles daily to feed her children by cleaning homes. There is not enough food to ensure a stable diet, the children have no suitable school clothes, and are too ashamed to go to school. Yet Mahara is dedicated to her children’s future and searched for a way to ensure her children will not be forced into a life of abject suffering.

Mahara heard about an organization that was funding girls’ education and with the help of her literate cousin sent them a note. It was a simple plea for help and a promise to send her girls to school. Educate Girls Now responded quickly by setting up an interview. It was clear Mahara was in need and sincerely wanted to educate her family. Within two weeks she was enrolled in the program and with the simple gift of $60 a month for food and clothing, she was able to send her children to school.

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