Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Afghan girl’s lifelong dreams crushed in heartbreaking night of education ban

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

Written By: Zahra Rashidi

Afsana Sakhia, a generous young woman and a medical student, says that she has forgotten her dream of becoming a doctor after two years of educational restrictions and is now compelled to consider her family’s wishes for marriage. She had come close to achieving her lifelong dream of wearing the white coat and becoming a doctor, but they took her dream and future away.

Sakhi used her hard-earned money to continue her education. She hoped that, after completing her studies, she could repay her family’s love by working. However, now, not only can she not repay her family’s love, but she also feels burdened by it. Sakhi’s family, who once believed in her goals and aspirations, no longer see any hopeful future for her and suggests her daughter’s marriage every day.

She dressed as the sun rose every morning to go to the university. If things had not changed, she would have graduated in medicine after eight years of studying. She planned to work for a while to support her family and save money for further education.

Sakhi remembers December 20, 2022, as a date that crushed her dream and darkened her future. The Taliban administration issued an order on that date, which Sakhi refers to as “shameful,” banning girls’ education.

Sakhi narrates her life: “I wanted to become a surgeon, to be called Dr. Sakhi by everyone. Yes, my dream was this simple. However, it did not come true. They say there is a way where there is a will, but I could not, even though I wanted to.”

Before the ban on educating women and girls, Sakhi’s only concern was achieving her goal of wearing the white coat and healing patients. “I had posted a picture of a girl in a white coat on my mobile profile to motivate myself every time I saw it and make a more determined effort to reach my goal.”

Sakhi studies at a private university. Considering her family’s economic situation, she paid the university much money. At the beginning of each semester, she would visit her sister, who had a beauty salon in a part of Kabul. She would borrow 50,000 Afghanis from her sister, which she must pay at the start of each term.

She says, “Sometimes, asking for this money was tough for me, but sometimes I would close my eyes and tell myself, ‘Sakhi, when you become a doctor and achieve your dreams, you will repay your sister this money and even more.’ Though not entirely real, this thought gave me the courage to ask her for the money for the next semester.”

She worked hard to achieve her goals. She had dedicated herself to becoming a doctor. She endured sleepless nights and deprived herself of recreation, unaware that her efforts would ultimately be in vain.

The resurgence of the Taliban and the implementation of policies that deny women’s freedoms were so unexpected for Sakhi that it isolated her deeply. Her sister says she distanced herself from her family and friends for a long time, often avoiding family gatherings and preferring to be alone.

Compared to recent photos, the old pictures of Sakhi show significant differences. In the past, she had a radiant, energetic face, unlike the current Sakhi, who appeared gloomy and hopeless. She says, “I am no longer the same Sakhi. There are things about me that no longer exist.”

Although Sakhi, like many other girls, has been deprived of going to university, she believes that the ban on the education of girls and the policies of the Taliban have given her life a different colour. “Now my family sees me as useless, even an extra burden, unlike before. My living conditions have become even more difficult than before.”

Sakhi’s efforts and studying yielded nothing but money consumption in her family’s belief. They need to make an effort to understand Sakhi’s current state. She says, “Every time I hear the reality that I am an extra member, I wish for death.”

Her family wants her to get married: “My family always tells me it is better to get married. They say my dream of continuing education will never become a reality, except by spending money. My family keeps insisting that I should marry a man.”

Every day, Sakhi goes to bed hoping that the nightmare of the ban on girls’ education will be over tomorrow morning. Sakhi’s future and all her hopes are entangled. Even her position within the family has been reduced to education, or else she will have no place.

She longs to dress up again in the mornings and go to the university, turning the pages of her books with enthusiasm.

In her view, not only has society’s perception of women and girls changed over the past two years, but women’s roles in families have also undergone significant changes.

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