Amidst strict limitations, online education offers hope for female Afghan students

This report has been prepared by Saeedullah Safi & Gulaly Najib from The Afghan Times – 16 August 2023

Declaration: This report was originally published by The Afghan Times on 16 August 2023. However, due to the loss of our archive, we are re-publishing it to ensure its availability to our readers. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding.


Since seizing power in August 2021, the Taliban have curtailed women’s rights. Most girls have been forbidden to attend high school since the takeover.


In December 2022, the Taliban “suspended” women’s right to attend universities.


Despite these challenges, online education emerges as a beacon of hope for Afghan female students. Through online platforms, they can continue their education by participating in short-term courses and special classes. One such initiative is “Classrooms without Walls,” which provides free online classes for Afghan women students, allowing them to attend from Afghanistan.

Founded in March 2022 by David Falconer, Classrooms Without Walls (CWW) now oversees multiple programs, including Teachers for Ukraine, Teachers for Myanmar, Teachers for Afghanistan, and the Winds of Change International Leadership Youth Group.

Among the classes offered by CWW for Afghan students is “The Rule of Law Project in Afghanistan.” This 8-week virtual course examines various international human rights treaties and declarations ratified by Afghanistan, considering how they align with Islamic values. The course, taught by Stephen A. Rosenbaum, a Lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Law, aims to provide a platform for women to develop critical thinking skills and discuss the challenges they face under an authoritarian regime.



Marwa Houshmand was an eleventh- grade student before the Taliban’s arrival. After the Taliban’s takeover, Marwa and her family attempted to leave the country, but they didn’t able.

Following their efforts, Marwa successfully embraced online learning and became a part of CWW. Marwa recounts, “Due to my diligence and aptitude, I proposed to contribute as a teacher’s assistant alongside my studies, a proposal that was accepted. At CWW, we receive leadership training, and the community consists of individuals from Ukraine, Myanmar, and Afghan backgrounds. We are treated with equal kindness and respect, regardless of our origin.”

“CWW appears to be the sole avenue where girls like us receive education and find solutions to our challenges. They support us holistically, even helping with some internet expenses. This opportunity is invaluable for girls’ seeking education. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. David Falconer for his dedicated service that benefits us.”

Marwa added

Marwa requests international community to support Afghan women students in the following areas:


Safia is a woman who used to be a second-year student at the Faculty of Computer Science before the Taliban.

She mentioned that the previous government presented a golden opportunity for her and her sisters, as women were allowed to work and education.

Safia expressed that she is now unable to attend university due to a Taliban ban, spending her days and nights at home without university. She feared that this could lead to mental issues, as in the past, she used to visit sports facilities to relax her mind and body through exercise. Unfortunately, the Taliban later shut down gyms for women.

She stated that the Taliban has blocked many paths for her, leading her to pursue education online as a form of hope. While not as effective as in-person classes, online education offers more than ignorance and provides a ray of educational light.

Despite challenges related to online education costs and poor internet access, Safia expressed gratitude towards CWW, which provides education to Afghan girls in various fields, including English and law.

Safia highlighted several issues with online education, such as frequent electricity shortages and uncharged mobile phones, hindering proper learning due to weak and expensive internet services in the country.


Fatima Rahimi is one of the young women who live in the challenging conditions of Afghanistan and bravely fight against the situation.

“I have no positive memories of my last days at school, I remember walking towards the school, only to find the door closed in front of me without any explanation. The door, however, opened for the boys. Disheartened, I returned home, placed my book and pen down, and found myself in uncertainties about an unknown future,”

said Fatima

Mrs. Rahimi mentioned that she faced numerous restrictions under the previous government, which have now multiplied under the Taliban’s rule.

Ms. Rahimi, a courageous young woman, has refused to adhere to the Taliban’s bans and continues her education through online means. She referred to CWW, which she believed to be the sole option for girls’ education in the current circumstances.

Fatima Rahimi held onto hope for the day when schools and universities would once again open their doors to women, allowing them to pursue education.


The combination of high internet prices and slow speeds in Afghanistan presents a significant hurdle for students, hindering their ability to pursue their studies with enthusiasm. These students require affordable internet options and fast connectivity solutions.

Furthermore, the prevailing economic crisis in Afghanistan has resulted in numerous female students being unable to engage in online education due to a lack of access to computers and essential tools for remote learning.

If you wish to access CWW courses and/or wish to volunteer, please contact David Falconer at CWW’s website can be found at

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