Scholarship for Afghan Woman in Mongolia

 The Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918), is providing a scholarship to support a brilliant young Afghan woman to complete her studies in Information Technology at Mongolia International University in Ulaanbataar. Our student who is a native of a Taliban-controlled area of Afghanistan, had graduated with top marks from her high school and had also undertaken studies in English as a second language. She entered Mongolia International University on a full scholarship based on her academic record. Unfortunately the scholarship was terminated about a year ago for financial reasons. The young woman was faced with having to return to her home community in Afghanistan, with the prospects of either being forced into an arranged marriage to a much older man not of her choosing or risking injury, mutilation or even death as an educated woman.

We were informed of the girl’s plight by Dr Asmat Naebkhil, the founder and head of the Kabul Medical University Cardiac Research Centre, and a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918). Asmat appealed to our Club Treasurer Jim Moore, a former member of the Windsor Club. Thanks to the generosity of members of both Clubs, we have committed to meeting the challenge of providing this young woman with ongoing support until she graduates next year.

Individual contributions are welcome at anytime. Donations should be made payable to the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill with a notation in the subject line – Afghan student scholarship. All contributors will receive charitable receipts for income tax purposes.

So what is it like to live and study in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia? For starters, the weather is a challenge – going to plus 35 degrees in summer and as cold as minus 40 in the winter. Ulaanbataar, which has a population of about a million, is almost a “mile high” city in a wooded and mountainous terrain. The city is in a permafrost zone with many of its inhabitants, especially in outlying areas, still living in yurts. Mongolia International University is a private university founded in 2001 that has about 1000 students. MIU teaches its courses in English and has students attending from many countries including Russia, China, South Korea and Nigeria as well as Afghanistan. Our scholarship recipient is maintaining top grades. In her occasional free time, she enjoys hiking in the scenic countryside and also horseback riding.