One hundred women graduated from an adult literacy course at Al-Sharquia Secondary School for Girls in the Karadah security district of eastern Baghdad Dec. 4.
The graduates, their family members and other ceremony attendees gathered to celebrate what was the first of potentially many successful adult literacy classes.
â€œThis is the first step of many that the Iraqi government has taken to ensure economic growth in the Karadah district,â€ said Capt. Sean Oâ€™Brien, non-lethal effects coordinator with 5th Battalion 25th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Multi-National Division â€“ Baghdad. â€œThe next step is to employ them.â€
Many of the graduates are widows, explained Hadeel Adel, an Iraqi non-government organization representative and advocate for womenâ€™s rights. She said the literacy course graduates will be able to use their new skills to study for a civil service examination to seek government employment.
â€œThis is a monumental day for these women. You can see the future of Iraq in their faces,â€ exclaimed Adel. â€œThese women will get jobs and relieve the stress on the local economy by providing for their familiesâ€
Adel expressed hopes for a continued partnership between the United States and Iraq and said she wishes that womenâ€™s rights in Iraq will someday mirror the rights women have in America.
Their graduation marked a successful day for these literate women of Baghdad, and now they possess the power to learn through reading.