Extensive use of land mines and targeted bombings has cost the lives of millions of men, women and children. Decades of fighting, repression and displacement subjected people of Afghanistan to multiple cases of human rights abuse, often at the price of their lives. Extremists have been particularly obsessed with targeting women, the most vulnerable group of Afghan society.
This is the story of Nadia, a 17-year-old, who dares to dream big despite hardships and hostilities and is doing everything that is in her power to help her country heal.Nadia Hamidi was born in exile, her family left Afghanistan 40 years ago when the Soviet Union invaded their homeland. Neighboring Pakistan became a safe harbour for the Hamidi family.
Every morning in Quetta, Nadia’s father Abdul Rashid sells qabil, an Afghan dish made with rice, raisins and chicken, to make a living and help his daughter pursue education.
Mr Rashid is in his 70s, yet he works hard every day and comes home late in the evening.
Nadia learnt English by herself by watching television and enrolled in computer classes to learn IT. A 17-year-old does not let difficult life circumstances interfere with her plans to study.
What is truly outstanding is that Nadia is not afraid of challenges, as a refugee and as a woman, she believes that education is the must to empower change:
According to the UNICEF, 3.7 million children are out-of-school in Afghanistan – 60% of them are girls.Afghanistan’s education system has been tremendously damaged by four decades of the never-ending war. For many kids in Afghanistan, completing primary school continues to be an elusive dream. Girls are especially defenceless to inequality in the realm of access to education:
“Only 16 percent of Afghanistan’s schools are girls-only, and many of them lack proper sanitation facilities, which further hinders attendance. Certain sociocultural factors and traditional beliefs also undermine girls’ education. Girls continue to marry very young – 17 percent before their 15th birthday.”Access to education is a luxury not everyone has. In fact, many Muslim women in crisis regions are discouraged from attending schools for various reasons. Lack of safety, security threats and certain cultural agendas undermine chances for girls to attend school.
Yet, educated woman means educated generation. Societies across the globe need to realize the importance of this statement. Even in a hostile environment, it is critical to be resourceful, find opportunities and never take your eyes off the goal.
I believe there is a lot to learn from young women like Nadia Hamidi. Her determination, responsibility, hard work and burning desire to help her Motherland become a better place is remarkable. Hence, there is something about her that has truly fascinated me. Nadia’s incredible courage to dream big and her huge faith is truly inspiring. No matter what your circumstances are, there is always room for change if you have faith.