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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.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

Aminah's picture

Kudos to your father.

If the world has more fathers like him, the world would be so much a better place.

Salaam
Aminah

Jan Afza's picture

Yes

Kudos to every father who fights for the education of his daughters. Thanks Aminah jan
I think if we have our fathers beside us in a patriarchal kind of a society to help us with our education we could certainly ensure education for girls.

Jan Afza

Myrthe's picture

Fathers

Thank you for sharing your personal story! I am sure your workshop will be a success and that you will be able to reach many girls with your message about the importance of education.

I think it is also important to reach the parents (and especially the fathers) of those girls with this same message, so that more parents will understand the value and importance of education for their daughters, just like your own father understood so well. Do you have any plans or ideas on how to achieve this, how to reach the fathers of school age daughters?

I am sure you still have lots of great things ahead of you in your life and that your father can be proud of you! I wish you lots of success in your future plans!

Jan Afza's picture

Got approved

Dear Myrthe!
My workshop got approved and I am so happy now. Actually we don't have any plans for the father of school age daughters this year but maybe in the future we can figure it out.
Thank you

Jan Afza

Myrthe's picture

Congratulations on getting

Congratulations on getting your workshop approved! Good luck with it and I am sure it will be a success!

Mila's picture

So proud

Hi Jan,

Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story with us in the WorldPulse community. I agree that it is wonderful that your dad was so supportive, but you must also be given credit for your perseverance and love of learning! I, for one, am very proud of you for overcoming your educational challenges and for your using your experiences to empower you to start a group that helps girls. You are also a wonderful writer that kept me interested in your story from the first sentence to the last. Besides relocating, I would love to hear other solutions that you have in mind for helping girls overcome their educational challenges.

Keep on inspiring all the girls and women out there!

:)
Mila

Jan Afza's picture

Thank you

Dear Mila!
It really make me cry. I have found my way and myself among all of you brilliant friends and sisters.
Just now I got the good news for my summer project. It means I can change my dream to a reality and the dreams of other girls as well.

Jan Afza

michelle904's picture

It's so inspiring to read

It's so inspiring to read your story about struggling to find educational opportunities and then creating opportunities for other women. Your parents should be very proud of the woman that you are.

Jan Afza's picture

Thank you

Dear Michelle!
Thank you so much for your support and inspiring words. I try to do my best for what I can do and I really want to post about my project with the World Pulse community.

Jan Afza

Nicole.Staudinger's picture

Thank you

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your determination and your courage are inspiring. I also specifically want to commend you on your ability to be open-minded. It must have been frustrating for you to interact with girls who had access to education but denied it because of the way they were brought up- "with sealed lips and mouths." I am often frustrated when I hear of women who decline the amazing opportunities they have to empower themselves and others in favor of following society's rules, but you make a very valid point: we shouldn't judge others for behaving in accordance with the way that they were raised. We can only hope to show them an alternate path and encourage them to explore it.

Congratulations on your leadership workshop! I'm sure it will be incredibly rewarding, both for you and for your participants. Best of luck to you in this endeavor, and all your future endeavors. I'm sure your bright mind will light the way for many. Keep us updated on WorldPulse!

Jan Afza's picture

So Happy

You made me so happy with the inspiring words in the early morning. Thank you.
Now I am sure I can do more if I be the member of this brilliant community.

Jan Afza

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