News: Program at Khost University celebrates Afghan women
By Army Spc. Amber Robinson-Sonoda
3rd Brigade Combat Team
KHOST, Afghanistan - U.S. Soldiers joined Afghan men, women and children at Khost University on March 9 to celebrate International Women's Day and to promote human rights, including education for girls.
The shura, a formal gathering, included Gov. Merajudin Patan of Khost Province, his deputy and representatives from the Afghan government's Directorate of Women's Affairs.
Educating girls can help bring prosperity to Afghanistan, Patan said.
"All of our prophets are sons of women. We are equal in our responsibility to prosper as a culture," he said, adding, "Half of our community is uneducated. Our only resolve is education for all."
"If we do not implement these changes, who will? It must start here," Patan said.
The conference included colorful skits and presentations.
In one skit, a man sought medical assistance for his wife, but " because he could not read " took her to a barber shop instead of doctor's office. When he finally found a medical facility, he refused to let a male medical technician touch his spouse. The skit illustrated some obstacles to women's health and welfare.
The presentations included Afghan girls chanting praises of motherhood, and an elderly Afghan woman offering wisdom and prayer for a time of change.
Many Afghan children attended the program. Soldiers from Task Force Wolfpack provided transportation and represented the Coalition at the event. The three female Soldiers present received colorful scarves from the Directorate of Women's Affairs.
"These females want their rights, but they do not want to change their role in society. Most just want to be treated with respect," said Army Spc. Angela Fausset, of G Company, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
"It's good that the adults have allowed children here and integrated them into the program. The change in thinking that the Afghans are pushing for will truly start with the children," she said.