When the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, they imposed their radical views on all Afghan citizens. Women were denied the right to attend school and limited to religious studies only. Yet this did not stop Afghani women from seeking the education they knew they deserved. In response to the Taliban’s discriminatory tyranny, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) created a network of underground schools across the region. Standing up in brave defiance, the women who ran these schools risked their lives to educate the next generation of young girls. When questioned by the Taliban about their activities, they denied teaching anything but religion and quickly hid books pertaining to science, math, history, and all other subjects not relating to religion. Had the Taliban discovered they were lying, they would have faced severe consequences. Their noble willingness to sacrifice everything in favor of equal rights to education is an inspiration to us all.


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  • Learn more about AIL on their website
  • Watch this inspiring address to the UN by then 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, delivered nine months after her attempted assassination by the Taliban.
  • Find out more about organizations that are helping educate girls and women around the world, and consider how you can take a small action to further their cause.

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