Sunday, April 14, 2024

From Takhar to Kabul: A woman’s struggle in search of better life

Immigration News

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

Recent political landscape changes have turned Afghanistan into one of the worst places for women, especially for those who are the heads of their households. They experience even deeper restrictions because they have to work and search for ways to have a better life.

Friba, a woman who had a difficult life in Takhar due to poverty and unemployment, moved to Kabul to provide a better life for her children. She now sells pens on the streets of Kabul to ensure they have bread for the night.

Friba says, “I was very young when I lost my mother, and I got married at a very early age.”

She not only became a victim of early marriage, but despite her efforts to have a shared life that she dreamt of, her husband fell victim to addiction, affecting their entire life.

After her first husband became addicted, he left home, and Friba, along with her children, waited for his return for a long time, but they never heard from him, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

In traditional Afghan society, men are considered the sole breadwinners in the family, and women, except for household chores and raising children, do not engage in other work. Illiteracy among women is also one of the reasons that forces them to depend on men, and if they do not have a husband (widows), they have no option other than marriage to support their lives.

Amidst her sobbing, Friba says, “I have lived as a widow all these years and struggled through the days. Due to poverty, I sold one of my children, a daughter, to my cousin in Mazar-e-Sharif for 50,000 Afghanis. I used the money from selling this child to meet the expenses of my other children.”

She claims to have lived a “double life” to this day. Seven years after her first husband disappeared, in order not to be left alone with the remaining children of her addicted husband, she married another man named “Yaqub,” and this marriage also resulted in two more children.

Friba’s first husband fell victim to drug addiction, and her second husband was killed in the conflicts between the security forces of the previous Afghan government and the Taliban in Kunduz.

Despite Friba’s efforts to not remain alone, she has been left with solitude as the only companion in her life in Afghanistan, a solitude shaped by war, drug addiction, the Taliban, poverty, and displacement.

She claims to have given birth to twins seven times but only five of her fourteen children are still alive. She recalls, “When my first husband became addicted, I worked in the fields outside the house from morning till late at night. One day, when I returned from work, I found my breastfeeding daughter dead in her cradle. My other son was taken by pneumonia and passed away.”

Friba is the head of her family, and they have been living in Kabul for about a year. She continues her life in a mud house without essential amenities along with her children.

She requests government officials to create job opportunities for working women. Friba says that she has been detained by government forces several times. Her information has been recorded, but she has received no assistance or job opportunities from the authorities.

Friba is busy selling pens and stationery at a crossroads in Kabul. She sells pens from 7 in the morning until 7 in the evening to make ends meet.

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