Afghanistan: Halima Khazan

My goal in life is to advocate a non-violent community where boys and girls have equal rights and access to education. I endeavor to change the conservative culture of Paktia through education.

— Halima Khazan

Born in the eastern province of Paktia in 1953, Halima Khazan was the only woman in the province to finish high school. Then, she attended the Women's Teacher Training Institute in Kabul and soon after the completion of her teaching diploma she was appointed as a teacher, a career she has pursued for the past three decades. Halima has also arranged home schooling in order to encourage girls’ education. She obtained assistance from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to provide transport for girls who live in the remote villages of Gardez City, the capital of Paktia.

As the first high school graduate in the province Paktia, Halima Khazan was keenly aware of the disadvantaged status of women from her region. While forced to stay at home during the Taliban regime, she continued to provide home schooling for children. Motivated by the progress that some women in other provinces have achieved, she dedicated herself to changing people's attitude toward female education. She was an active participant in the local women's groups. Her vision of the future entails a non-violent community where boys and girls have equal rights. She is working hard to change the conservative culture of Paktia through persistent effort and education. Halima Khazan has been instrumental in encouraging girls to continue their education, and thanks to her efforts the only girls' high school in the province continues to receive more girls who are highly influenced by her exemplum. Halima Khazan has also helped to establish several adult literacy and tailoring courses for women. Furthermore, she writes regularly in the only local monthly magazine "Paktia Ghag" (Voice of Paktia) and she edits the women's page.