In response, the Afghan refugee community in Iran began to establish its own community-based school system, drawing on the educators in its midst to lead and provide education to the children. Many of these educators were women. Adelkhah and Olzewska (2007) and Hoodfar (2007) contended that Afghan refugee status allowed for a somewhat greater freedom and women were less likely to submit to patriarchal notions.
Since children were prioritized for education, women were deprived of the formal schooling. However, more Afghan girls received education in their refugee camp homes than in their native Afghanistan (Qahir & Kirk, 2007). Further, a network of schools was organized to coordinate across neighborhoods to provide the most effective education for the Afghan refugee population. Because Afghan curriculum and textbooks were virtually impossible to access, the teachers devised an Afghan-sensitive curriculum while drawing from Iranian textbooks and curriculum. Over time, these educators were effective in building an independent system of education that prepared students through their primary years of education while they lobbied the Iranian government to credit students for the work they accomplished if they were to graduate to the formal school system.
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