A woman sits on the floor of a classroom, nursing her baby while simultaneously taking a high-stakes exam, as dozens of other students around her do the same.
The extraordinary scene, set in a private university in Afghanistan’s Daykundi province, was captured in a compelling photo that went viral on social media.
Jahan Taab, 25, was taking an entrance exam — called the Kankor exam — for the social science course at Nasirkhosraw Higher Education Institute in Nilli city when her two-month baby started crying, according to Yahya Erfan, a lecturer at the university who was monitoring the test.
So, she left her desk, sat cross-legged on the floor and kept writing up the answers, while taking care of her baby.
The scene was so powerful that Erfan took his phone and snapped a few shots, which he later posted on his Facebook account.
“It was amazing and all of the classmates were in admiration of her,” he told CNN.
Taab, who has three children, traveled about six to eight hours from her native village of Hoshto, in Miramar district, to Nilli to attend the exam, according to Erfan.
Fortunately, Taab passed the Kankor exam with 152 points and she now wants to attend the social science faculty, Erfan said.
But besides the distance, Taab — who’s married to a farmer and is from a “poor family,” according to Erfan — is concerned that she cannot afford university fees, as she told local Etilatrooz Daily Newspaper.
University fees at Nasirkhosraw are around 10,000 to 12,000 Afghan Afghani ($143 to $172) and Taab had to discuss funding with the administration in order to pursue her dream of studying there.
Meanwhile, a British organization, the Afghan Youth Association, launched a GoFundMe to support Taab’s studies:
“The reason for the campaign is that nothing should stop this woman who have made such afford to take the exam with her 2-month-old child,” the group’s Shokryah Mohammadi told CNN.
Other people, such as Marjan Asadullah, weighed in on social media, suggesting that Afghan clubs in universities should join forces and help with the fees:
CNN reached out to try to speak to Taab but she was unavailable.