PARSA Family Schools
THE AFGHANISTAN FUND / EST. 2023
The Humanity Funds is partnering with PARSA, a Washington State registered non-profit that has run leadership and community driven educational programs in Afghanistan since 1996. Due to the tightening restrictions on women and girls, we decided to launch a new community based approach to the education and advancement of girls and women: PARSA Family Schools. The program aims to enroll up to 10,000 girls and young women in homeschooling programs supported by its flagship national program, the Afghan Scouts, as well as by three pilot programs in Kabul: Sisters 4 Sisters Youth, Brothers 4 Brothers Youth, and Sisters 4 Sisters Professional. The program is carefully driven by locally trained Afghan staff and volunteers mobilized across Afghanistan and respects the determination of Afghan families to take care of their children and communities and to drive positive outcomes in what currently is a very difficult and dynamic situation in the country.
The schools are informal, conducted in communities where PARSA has a strong network, and are based on the needs of the children in the families. PARSA supplies stationary, books, and other materials for program participants, who organize tutoring and teaching programs in their homes for their sisters, brothers, cousins, neighbors, and even their mothers. This initiative has resulted in strong support for parents disheartened by the closure of schools for girls and allowed them to make education a central part of each family's daily activities. PARSA receives photos on a daily basis from these family schools around the country, along with stories highlighting how the families are working together to teach and support each other. PARSA's Psychosocial Department has now joined the program, offering virtual psychosocial training components to all participants conducting homeschools including conducting support groups, "barefoot" peer counseling, and mindfulness exercises. In the first six weeks of 2023, 1,500 children and youth in 17 out of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have been enrolled in the Family Schools and working on their studies three to fives times per week.