Located in the center Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan’s fourth largest city, the Gohar Khatoon girls’ school opened on June 2nd, 2015. The facility is run by the Balkh Province Ministry of Education, and has been integrated into the national education system. The new complex replaces an older building that was in an extreme state of disrepair and expands the capacity of a historically significant urban school. The project was realized by a multinational team from Afghanistan, Iran, and the United States, and was funded by the Janet W. Ketcham Foundation and Sahar.  


A Place to Learn

The 2,000 m2 complex provides for kindergarten through grade twelve classes, serving at least 3,000 students or more a day. Mazar-i-Sharif is home to several universities, and Gohar Khatoon–acting as a gateway to higher education–is positioned to become a key institution for educating several thousand women and girls in an important urban center. Girls’ schools are already considered to be major contributors in Afghanistan’s push toward development, and these institutions serve as powerful mechanisms for inclusion within Afghan society. Schools are the setting where women and girls will negotiate this transition, and Gohar Khatoon has been designed to support this process by promoting stability, comfort, and community engagement.

photography by Nic Lehoux

photography by Nic Lehoux