69-year-old Afghan man goes to school to learn
Jama-Gul at the age of 69 started going to literacy school last year to learn how to read and write and be able to use math for his small business of yogurt selling.
He had spent his entire life working in the farms mainly herding cows. He recently started his own small business of making and selling yogurt which requires him to learn the skills to read and write and be able to do the simple math calculation.
The whole thing started when he was deceived by a local person while making an agreement with him for his yogurt selling business which motivated Jama-Gul to learn new skills in his life and never be deceived again.
Jama-Gul’s father passed away when he was only 12. Jama-Gul then had to take care of the family and him by working tireless hours each day. Therefore, he left school when he was in the second grade and went on to start supporting his family instead. It was difficult to leave school but food comes first. He started taking care of the family animals and started selling yogurt and milk on the streets of Herat, Afghanistan. At age 69, he feels that he has reached to the stage where he wants to start doing things which he was never able to do in his life before, interestingly, getting educated is on top of them.
Many children like Jama-Gul remain helpless because of poverty in Afghanistan and many other similar developing countries. Over the last few decades, many children have to start supporting their families at a much early stage in their lives because they lost their fathers because of wars. As the situation in Afghanistan is slowly getting better, many like Jama-Gul are again trying to fulfill their goals and desires where they had left off.
There are some literacy schools in Herat that are opening up where illiterate or interested people can start learning but they have to pay tuition fees which can be quite challenging for them.
Jama-Gul pays 1000 Afghani Rupee (approximately $13) each month for the private literacy school for 1 hour each day for a month which does not seem too much but in a country where your total revenue for the entire years is a few hundreds of dollars, it can become quite challenging.
He is the oldest student in his class where most other students are from 16 to 25 years old. Most of these students for many reasons lost the chance of education whether of war or poverty but wants to revive their wish of becoming literate. Decades of war almost had taken the dream of education from most Afghans, many fled the country seeking better life and education beyond the borders, but people like Jama-Gul despite being too late, still seek hope for education.
One day I thought of myself, I have raised my sons and daughters who are now on their own but where do I stand? I am still an illiterate person and who knows how long would I live, why shouldn’t I spend the rest of my life learning something new which excites me, Jama-Gul explains.
Surprisingly, Jama-Gul is very punctual and always finishes his homework on time and with accuracy, his classmates say. Nader Faizi, his classmate mentions, we are so proud to have such a classmate and this encourages us to never stop learning for any reason, Mama (Uncle) Jama-Gul, is so keen in his lessons and class quizzes, he is always busy learning and is among the best students in the class.
If things continue the way they are right now, Jama-Gul could be a successful business person in his area and will be able to record and telly his own business transactions. He just wrote his first line on his notebook just yesterday, Sunday One (1) kilo of yogurt and five (5) kilos of milk.
“My only dream is to be educated enough to spend the rest of my life reading books”, he ends the talk with a smile.
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