When Somaya Amiri was a little girl, she’d watch each morning as her big brother hoisted a backpack over his shoulders and walked to school in Afghanistan’s Behsood District. She remembers desperately wanting to go too.

The day she decided to follow him, her father noticed she was missing from the house and caught up with her at the school. He was furious.

“When I got home my mom and grandmother were crying,” Ms. Amiri said in an interview. “They told me that when you are a girl, you don’t go to school.”

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