Natija's story - a right to study

Natija, a teenage girl in a very remote village of Rustaq district, Takhar province:

“My father loved me so much and would sometimes take me to the district centre to our relative’s house. I was observing my relative’s girls wearing black cloths, white scarf and bag on their shoulders coming from school. They were telling me about their schools, stories in the textbooks and the school’s friends and all funs they were having in the school.

When I returned to our village I became very disappointed for not having the same opportunity to go to school, study and learn like my relatives. Sometimes, I was asking my father why we don’t have schools at our village or why we don’t move to the district centre to study? I knew such questions hurt my father very much since he was not able to show how sad he was for not being to facilitate access to education to his children. My father is a good person but not financially well-off to afford our education costs for sending us to district centre to study. I was really upset looking at all these deprivations. To be an educated girl, was the only dream of my life but didn’t know how to realize this dream. It seemed almost impossible for me, but I was never disappointed, never lost hope and never gave up. I kept praying to God to help me study one day and become an educated and self-reliant person. I was growing gradually and become 14 years old.  The dream was also growing with me together.

Eventually, one day I heard an announcement from the mosque’s loudspeaker saying, anyone who wants to study please come to the mosque and register for the class. I was not believing it is happening, my dreams were turning to reality, I didn’t believe my eyes. When my father came home I asked him whether the news I heard is correct. When my father confirmed I was really surprised. Out of curiosity I wanted to know about the details, who is helping children in our village. My father and other villagers said that a Mossesa (NGO) has come to establish school in my village. Later on I understood that this was Afghan Connection with the support of SCA [The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan] making me have access to education and realizing my dream.

I always remember the moment when I approached the mosque to enroll my name in the list, I was asked. “do you want to study with small children?” Firmly I said yes, I want to study, it is no matter if I am elder than these children, but I want to study. Now I am studying because there are people who care about us, there are people who feel and understand that children in remote areas also have a dream, have a right to education. Thanks to everyone who is helping us to study.”

This success story is not unique to Natija; it is the story of hundreds of girls whose dream of education is being realized through AC’s support. Thank you to everyone this International Woman’s Day for helping us to make their dreams come true.