Getting girls back into education is a major priority in Iraq, especially in Anbar. The importance of educating women is widely known and, with the Malala Fund estimating that at least 130 million girls are denied education worldwide, the transformative power of investing in secondary education for girls is clear.
Investing in girls’ education strengthens economies by adding more people to the overall workforce, while communities with educated girls are not only more stable but better able to recover when conflict does occur.
These images were gathered from girls’ schools in Haditha, in Anbar, Iraq, and show the significance and power of enabling girls to access education.
At Haditha High School, girls like Abraar, 17, are studying to build their futures. She is proud to be a student at the school.
“The best things about my school are the good teachers and my friends,” she says.
“Also, I enjoy learning English because it can give me a chance to understand new cultures,” she says. “When I finish school, I want to go to university, and in the future I’d like to be a teacher.”
Al-Hatheen Primary School, another all-girls school in the city, lays the vital foundations for its students. These students are walking through the corridors of the school, on their way to class.
In an English class, the pupils compete to give their teacher the right answer.
Bushra, 28, whose name means ‘good news’, is the English teacher at the school. She loves her job.
“Being a teacher feels so natural to me,” she says. “I really enjoy teaching the students English – it’s a great skill for them to learn.”
One of the top students in her class is Masarra, 11.
“I love learning English – it’s my favourite subject,” she says. “And when I grow up, I’d like to be an engineer.”
Here is Masarra with her friend and classmate, Roqayeh, 11.
“I love school,” says Roqayeh. “My favourite subjects are history and geography.”
Roqayeh has big plans for her future and she will definitely need school to get there.
“When I grow up, I want to be a doctor, to help poor people,” she says.