SHORT STORIES: ahfad university for women in khartoum
The University for Women in Sudan
At first sight a university for women in a country where the sharia is in force, the idea of islamic segregation of genders easily evokes in a western observer. Talking about the "Ahfad University for Women" nothing is more erroneous. For sure the opinions, ideas and values that we are used to in the west (feminism, sexual equality, freedom of expression, last but not least in the way of dressing) could be an "obstacle" while trying to understand the "revolutionary" importance of a school for women only.
Historically school education in Sudan was reserved males only, not only the traditional Koranic schools but also those created by the colonial british government. It's in this consideration that Sheikh Babiker Badri (1860-1954), a school teacher and father of three girls, realizes the missing opportunity for his daughters to access higher education. That's how he gets the idea to create a modern non-governmental school for girls only. This way Ahfad becomes a landmark for women in all of Sudan, regardless of ethnic group, religion and social class.
As the first example in the Middle East and Africa the Ahfad University starts a campaign in the 1970s to inform against female genital mutilation.