Turkey's Yunus Emre Institute (YEE), a leading state-run agency in Turkey's efforts to promote language and culture, runs a literacy program for women in Afghanistan. Abdullah Yeğin, YEE's director in the Afghan capital Kabul says 80% of Afghan women are illiterate and they prioritized the issue in their activities in Afghanistan. "Afghanistan can progress with education of women," he said at a ceremony to deliver certificates to women who completed the course on Friday. Forty women received their certificates at the ceremony, after completing six months of classes. YEE plans to launch more courses.
Speaking at the ceremony, Turkish Ambassador in Kabul Oğuzhan Ertuğrul said Turkey has always been a country prioritizing education and that "education starts in family and with women." "Afghanistan is the biggest recipient of development aid from Turkey and we primarily support education. We carried out nearly 400 educational projects here," Ertuğrul said.The institute, named after the famous Turkish poet who lived from 1238 to 1320, has taught Turkish to thousands of people and reached out to more with their Turkish cultural activities abroad since it was founded in 2009. A flagship organization promoting Turkish culture and language abroad, the institute has 56 offices in 46 countries.
According to UNESCO, Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, at about 31% of the adult population and women's literacy levels are on average 17%. Factors for high illiteracy rate vary, from the traditional mindset especially in rural parts where girls are not supposed to attend school and instead manage the household. Security problems in the war-torn country under the constant threat by the Taliban are also among the challenges for women's attendance.