Empower Girls and Later They Empower Each Other
I have spent my school days in one of the districts in Afghanistan where the passion for learning knowledge soars up among its people day by day. I remember the days when I had to walk three to four hours per day to reach to school. Not only me but any school girl from my village had to pass long distances and climb high mountains in order to get to the school which was the only one in that region for girls. Walking through those distances were not that difficult for me during summer days but when the winter was approaching we were unable to pass the high lands through heavy snows.
Most of the winter seasons passed for me without doing anything important and with passing the hope that one day I would be able to continue winter courses and prepare myself for the next year of school. My parents could see this wish and my enthusiasm for education through my eyes so obviously. They took me and my sister to my aunt’s home in Pakistan in one winter where we pursued our English studies. The next winter when we faced the same hurdles again, my father took our family to Kabul where we were able to acquire better opportunities. My father endured different kinds of problems so that we could expand our knowledge and get education. Today I am the only person from my family who is getting higher education in another country far from home. My father still tries to his best to provide the necessities and supplies for my three small sisters and my brother who are at school now.
In Kabul I understood that every father was not as inspired in favor of learning knowledge for their daughters as my father. It was strange for me while I was watching some girls who despite of living in Kabul and having lots of facilities were not willing to continue their education.
One day suddenly I encountered with one of the girls in my neighborhood and asked her why she was not going to school. Then she replied me so surely that an illiterate girl who stays at home has more value than the girl who goes to school. She meant that an illiterate girl always does obey their parents’ commands with sealed lips and mouths and that is what the society expects from a girl. She also mentioned that a girl is safer and secure at home than that of a society.
I could see that there was a huge disagreement between her views and mine. But I never criticized her because I knew that it is what has been taught to her. The people around her had convinced the girl so strongly in an opposite way that it seemed impossible for me to change her mind.
I could not change her mind that day. I could not really tell her that what benefits education had on her life and the life of society as a whole but today I can. Today I got the opportunity to raise my voice and make some other girls raise their voice to ensure education for each and every member of my society. Together with some of my friends from Asian University for Women we have planned to organize some leadership workshop for high school girls in Kabul this summer. Our aim behind this project is to give the high school girls a voice to encourage their other friends who prefer to quit their studies because of different reasons to continue their education. We would like to enhance the team building skills among the students who lack confidence and self-esteem as most of the girls do. I believe that only the girls can solve their own problems and the problems of other girls in their society regarding their studies.