Afghan mum cradling baby during university exam goes viral

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Kabul: Afghan farmer Jahantab Ahmadi sits on the ground, her baby resting in her lap, as she focuses on the university entrance exam she hopes will help her fulfil her dreams.
The powerful photo, taken by a professor at Nasir Khusraw private university in central Afghanistan, has gone viral after striking a chord in a country where most women are illiterate and treated as second-class citizens.
The picture has sparked an outpouring of admiration and offers of financial help for the 25-year-old mother of three.
“I don’t want to be deprived of my studies,” Ahmadi, who comes from a remote farming village in Daikundi province where wheat, corn and potatoes provide a meagre income, told AFP in Kabul.
“I want to work outside the house. I want to become a doctor, someone who serves women in my community or society.”
Ahmadi passed the exam after undertaking an arduous journey to reach the provincial capital Nili — two hours on foot through mountains and nine hours in public transport on a bumpy road.
An online GoFundMe campaign launched by the Afghan Youth Association to help pay for her university fees has so far raised more than $14,000 — a fortune in a country where about 39 percent of the population lives in poverty.
Ahmadi appears a little bemused by the attention triggered by the photo of her cradling baby Khizran during the exam last month, which she only found out about later.
“My friends in the village told me ‘you have been photographed’. I said ‘how did I not know that I was being photographed and they said ‘you were concentrating on the paper,” she said, smiling shyly.