Back To School.

I’m in Helsinki wrapping up my annual summer recess and witnessing thousands of Finnish kids start a new school year around this time, some for the first time in their life.

Us Finns don’t have terribly much to show to the world (the summer of European football and the Olympics again reminded us of our certain genetic limitations), but we have rather aced our national school system, which is universal, free of charge and of very decent quality, as regularly attested by various international school-listing instances.

School girl, Herat, Afghanistan. By Steve McCurry. Source: IG @stevemccurryofficial

Despite my occasional personal appreciation to the system that enables people to study all the way towards the highest academic accolades without ending up with debilitating student loans, the Finnish school system is something I spend very little time thinking about, ever.

High school students, Bamiyan, Afghanistan. By Steve McCurry. Source: IG @stevemccurryofficial

I almost didn’t think about it at all this year.

Classroom, Bamiyan, Afghanistan 2007. By Steve McCurry. Source IG @stevemccurryofficial

This morning I saw a picture a friend had posted of her youngest daughter on her very first day of school last week, posing at the school gate, grinning from ear to ear, wearing a T-shirt that said:

Girls Can Do Anything

Sikh schoolgirl, Kabul, Afghanistan. By Steve McCurry. Source IG @stevemccurryofficial

So I thought about school again.

Afghan refugee girls in school in Peshawar, Pakistan. Their teacher is also a refugee who studied at Kabul University. By Steve McCurry.Source: IG @stevemccurryofficial

Afghan schoolgirl proudly presenting a rarity: her own book. By Steve McCurry. Source IG @stevemccurryofficial

Photo on top: Women’s Adult Education Class in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2003. Photographer: Steve McCurry. Source IG/ @stevemccurryofficial

One thought on “Back To School.

  1. Dear Kassandra,

    I also just spent two weeks in my old home turf Helsinki, and my thoughts are exactly, exactly! the same.
    Thank you for the touching photos, too.
    They tell more than thousands of words in this horrid situation.


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