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Iraqi Women Secure Opportunities Through Literacy Program

American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE RUSTAMIYAH, Iraq, Dec. 10, 2008 – One hundred Iraqi women became the first class of graduates of an adult literacy course near here that officials say is a sign of more good things to come from the partnership between Iraq and the United States.

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The first female graduates of an adult literacy course at the Sharquia Secondary School for Girls take pictures and celebrate before a graduation ceremony at the Baghdad school, Dec. 4, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeremy Todd
  

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“This is a monumental day for these women,” said Hadeel Adel, an Iraqi nongovernmental organization representative and women’s rights advocate. “You can see the future of Iraq in their faces. These women will get jobs and relieve the stress on the local economy by providing for their families.”

The Iraqi government, with the help of coalition forces, started the course at Sharquia Secondary School for Girls in eastern Baghdad’s Karadah district.

The Dec. 4 graduation marks the beginning of what many hope will signal economic prosperity in the area, Army Capt. Sean O’Brien, a nonlethal effects coordinator with the 10th Mountain Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, said.

“This is the first step of many … to ensure economic growth in the Karadah district,” O’Brien said. “The next step is to employ them.”

The graduates, many of whom are widows, gathered with their families, cameras in hand, to celebrate their completion of the course and the power of literacy, Adel said. The graduates will be able to use their new skills to study for a civil service exam to seek employment with the Iraqi government, she said.

Adel said she hopes for a continued partnership between the United States and Iraq, and that Iraqi women someday will have as many opportunities as American women.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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Multinational Corps Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution imageGraduates of an adult literacy course listen while local government leaders praise their successes during a graduation ceremony at the Sharquia Secondary School for Girls in Baghdad’s Karadah district, Dec. 4, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeremy Todd  
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