It’s 10 in the morning... it’s time for school for girls in Landi Kotal.
Their school was bombed four years ago... and it’s still not safe for girls to come out of their homes.
But 9-year-old Fareshta Khan doesn’t want to miss a day...
“I want to be a doctor. Because I like to treat my grandfather who has diabetes. I love my grandfather because he allows me to go to school.”
Fareshta and her friends are now studying at their teacher’s house.
Nihar Sultana welcomes the girls when they arrive. For security reasons they have to pass through two doors.
A total of 120 girls are studying at her home says Nihar, who started the school in 2010.
Some of her previous students have gone on to successful careers…
“Some of my students got jobs in the government health department, some work in embroidery centers, while some are teachers. I try even harder to provide further opportunities for more and more girls in the area.”
Nihar has been a teacher for 25 years now…
She’s very concerned about girl’s education in her country.
“The education ratio was zero in the village. Not a single female went to school. All the women were making fun of school and education. I tried hard to convince them. It got easier when I completed my Master degree in education and I started teaching the tribal girls.”
The students sit in groups and today they are learning English.
Nihar sits on the ground with them when she teaches.
She says she wants to ensure a safe environment for the children to study.
“I always give them a peaceful and conducive environment when they come to my home. It is very important for studying, something which I have learnt in my 25 year carrier. I would like to teach for 25 more years to educate all the tribal woman.”
More than half a million children are deprived of an education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan.
In these areas, the literacy rate for girls is only about five percent, compared to 34 percent for boys.
And radical groups threaten and kill female leaders to discourage any demands for rights and equality.
Nihar has been threatened several times for setting up the school at home… but she keeps the threats to herself. She doesn’t want to scare the girls.
“It’s a difficult task because it disturbs the entire house and our daily routine. But I do everything I can for the children of the area. I want them to get an education so that they can come out of tribal society and have a better life.”