My name is Shabana Basij-Rasikh, and I'm the co-founder and president of School of Leadership Afghanistan, or SOLA, which is Afghanistan's first and only all-girls boarding school.
Even to this day, unfortunately, girls in my country cannot consider access to education a basic human right. Seventy percent of girls in Afghanistan are not in school today. I realized that giving young people, especially young girls, access to education was the best way forward.
It becomes a responsibility of an educator or the current and future generation of educators to approach their classroom, approach students in a way that helps them prepare to be global citizens. At SOLA, we have chosen English as the language of instruction for a few reasons. We have students who come from across Afghanistan who speak different languages, and we have made a commitment to treating everyone equally. So we have given them a common challenge, in a sense, but also at the same time, a common language.
English is the language of opportunity, and I look at our students as the future leaders of Afghanistan. I don't want them to be limited in their access to the world outside of Afghanistan. Most importantly, I want them to bring opportunities to their remote villages and rural parts of Afghanistan through themselves.
My students are brave. They are persistent. They are driven. They have big dreams. And to be surrounded by a group of students, on a daily basis, who have all these characteristics and traits is pretty powerful.