First Step Toward Change In Afghanistan :)
The Make Your Knowledge Practical Workshop's Result
Hello and Asalam alikum!!!!
I am Parwana Fayyaz, student of the Asian University for Women and a recipient of the Cherie Blair Fellowship. I am from Afghanistan. When I joined AUW on 28 of August 2009, every knowledge and information was very inspiring for me and for my other friends. After, I did the Access Academy program at AUW in 2010; I thought that we should transfer our learning back to our homeland. Therefore, I became very enthusiastic about having of a project which besides of teaching also inspires my other sisters at Afghanistan, who are very far from this kind of studies.
It was in the form of a project, that we took action toward it in our summer vacation this year 2010. It was a capacity building workshop of 15 days for 60 young under graduated female students at Kabul University in Afghanistan. We were four members of a team in this project; we had this idea of workshop since December of 2009. We made this dream true and came up with the truth of our belief and confidence. It was a joyful feeling when we got approval from our university. We worked very concrete in this field and made each other to assure that we had the strong belief of oneness among each other. However, we felt lonely when we were in Kabul, Afghanistan and we had to do our project individually; so, we did it friendless because of the tough current situation in Afghanistan.
It was 4:00pm, when we, Afghan students, moved to the airport in Chittagong, Bangladesh. It was 5:45pm, when we arrived to the airport. After we talked to one of the airport’s staffs, we found out that our Bangladesh Biman Airway was delayed for five hours. It was unbelievable for all of us that we had to wait at airport four five hours and then we remembered that we would also miss our Dubai to Kabul airline because our next flight from Dubai to Kabul was at 3:30am. Then we became very frustrated and we were very upset about missing our Kam Airways. Then we started calling to our families in Kabul, Afghanistan and requesting from them for changing our flight time from Dubai to Kabul. Personally, I was very worried about it and wanted to go home as soon as possible to see my family. However, we couldn’t do anything, and we had to wait till 12:15 am for our flight from Chittagong to Dubai. At rest, there was a hope in our heart and mind for getting our flight from Dubai to Kabul on time; so, we were happy. In the plane, we were praying from our heart that we would be able to catch our next flight. It was 3:15am, when we arrived to the Dubai International Airport.
In fact, we were running for catching of our next flight. When we arrived to the departure gate of our flight the gate was closed, and we had to stay at the airport for 24 hours. It was a very odd feeling for me, I was feeling very sad and depressed there. Therefore, I decided not to spend my 24hours at the Dubai Airport; instead, I had better to go home and spend this time with my family. Thus, I went to Duty Free Desk which was on the second floor. I asked from one of its staff about Kabul Dubai flight. Finally, an Indian staff of that section came and asked about my problem. I told him that I wanted to go home on that day, and I didn’t want to stay at the airport the whole night. He told me that there was a flight from Dubai to Kabul by Aryana Airways. I asked him about the cost of the ticket, he told me that the tickets’ cost would be 280$, but, he would give us the tickets only in 170$. I came and discussed with my friends that we should go home by this plan then we would refund our tickets. But, they seemed happy and joyful at Dubai Airport. So, I didn’t insist on them for buying new tickets and going home. Therefore, I took my hand bags, my other stuff, and I bought a ticket of Aryana Airways, and said “Khoda Hafiz and Negahdar” to all my friends.
It was amazing when I went to that man, and he took me directly to a bus, which took me to the plane. Frankly, on that time I forgot to thank the man for what he did for me. I remembered it when I was in the plane.
In the plane, I was equally happy and sad for what I did. I was happy for going home on the exact time that I was supposed to be, but I was sad for leaving my other friends at the airport. However, I tried to think about happiness on that moment because I was in the way of home and homeland.
After two and half hours, I arrived to Kabul. It was 9:54 am of 18th July, when I arrived at Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan. When I saw my family members, it was both beautiful and fearful feelings to come home after 327 days for visiting my dear parents, my sweet brothers, my cute sisters, and the gentle people of my own country.
Honestly, I was afraid of coming after a long time to home and homeland. In fact, I was thinking that maybe I was changed a lot. As I noticed that how a bomb blast made me disappointed and frustrated which was very common in Afghanistan before also. So, I found very deep fear feelings inside. But, the very beautiful feelings were because of my family members and their love and worship for me made my happy and strong.
In a day, I found myself a good instructor for my little brothers and sisters; they were really inspired and impressed by my positive change and practical knowledge only in a year at AUW. Moreover, my other relatives, who were against me and education at AUW in Bangladesh, honored me with their correct social behavior and love.
I was very happy that I had changed my oppose relatives’ ideas about myself in eleven months being at AUW. However, like my relatives, I also wanted to see a completely different reaction from other people in my country about women’s development. Therefore, I was very interested for the start up of the Make Your Knowledge Practical project at Kabul University for under graduated female. On the other hand, we didn’t think about the tough and rough situations in Afghanistan because of Kabul Conference on 20th of July 2010 and the Parliamentary Election, lots of bomb blasts in every corner of the country and examinations in all public and private universities and schools that made our project to be delayed and even impossible to be held in 2010.
Therefore, we found out that the existing situations were a hurdle in order to do our project together in a place. So, we decided to do the project in various places for people with different levels, not only for under graduated females but also for female staff in some of our ministries because they also need to build their capacity.
After 21 hard days, I finally got chance to do my project on 8th August 2010 at Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and development in Kabul.
Here, I have to thank the Program manager of the Afghanistan Institute of Rural Development at Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. He accepted to set for a meeting on 2nd of August regarding this project. During the meeting on 2nd August, I introduced AUW and it mission and our project’s goal briefly. At the end of meeting he was impressed with our ideas and accepted my proposal of a one day workshop.
It was Sunday 8th August 8:23am, when I arrived to Afghanistan Institute of Rural Development at Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development . I was feeling both “humble and honored” for the start up of the workshop. It was amazing when I saw that the first participant was a man. He said, “May I come in”. I was shocked by his asking for joining the workshop; I said to him that the workshop was only for women staff of Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, but why he wanted to join us. He said that he was also very interested in learning of Time Management, Goal Setting, and Presentation Skills. So, I welcomed him but I was expecting more female staffs.
After that I welcomed 24 more participants in the workshop, of which 18 participants were female staffs and 7 male staff at ministry of rural rehabilitation and development.
Among the 25 participants there were two managers, a program assistant, a journalist, a SW Officer, 2 interns, 11 trainers, a master trainer, an adviser, a community Development Officer, three engineers, and a researcher.
It was a workshop for 4 and half hours started at 9:30 AM with a break time at 10:30 for 20 minutes then I stopped the workshop at 12:30 following a lunch for all the participants of the workshop and the workshop finished at 1:30 PM by distributing the certificates which were signed by program manager and stamped by the Afghanistan institute of rural development.
The workshop started with a presentation about AUW and then the main subject “Make Your Knowledge Practical”. During the workshop, I was feeling that everyone was very interested on my topics about “How to be successful?”, “How to reach to our true potential?”, and then I went to the main purpose of my project to the Goal Setting, Time Management, and Presentation Skills. During the presentation, the participants asked many questions related to their lives and my experiences at AUW. Honestly, I had a wonderful time with them by sharing and exchanging of our ideas and listening to each other’s perceptions.
The workshop was a very friendly workshop, as a young female participant said that it was the first workshop in her life time that besides getting very important points also had a wonderful time in understanding of others view and perspective. She said, “I will remember this workshop for ever, and I will try to have such a workshop of my own that will inspire Afghan people about women’s skills and abilities. In addition, I hope and pray that in the future, once again I will be one of your workshop’s participants.” She said these beautiful words in her own voice, and I always appreciate it.
Not only this participant was happy but also the others were also seemed very satisfied and hopeful for learning of more practical knowledge in my next workshop. And, I am going to dedicate my all knowledge for them that I am learning at AUW this year.