While living in Afghanistan and the US, I have learned and explored about my abilities and skills, and future. My family and friends have always admired my hard work as a student and leader in my school. They have told me that I deserve to become a leader, maybe even the first woman president of Afghanistan. Considering their suggestions, I realized being a politician might be a way to achieve my dreams.
This summer I had the opportunity to see what it is like to be an Afghan woman politician. Going in to the experience I only knew that it is hard for a woman to be a politician because of the threatening situations in Afghanistan. Now I also know that I am capable of achieving my goals and that I can fight and make life better in my country.
I have valuable skills to share
Over the summer I worked as a trainer in an organization called NDI (National Democratic Institute), which trained and supported Afghan women to run for the elections of 2010. It was hard to be selected because many other candidates were as old as my mom. They were even surprised to see me on the day of the interview. Even though I was not sure the organization would pick me for this high position, I thought positively. I knew I had a good resume and the capability to do the job well. The European woman who interviewed me was impressed by my confidence, the public speaking experience on my resume, and it was a bonus that I speak five languages.
Fortunately, I got accepted.
I was training the women how to run a campaign, create a good message and present it for the people. Before starting the first session I was a little nervous, so I took a deep breath. I remembered that I had always been the top student in my school in Afghanistan, so I had given lots of talks. I remembered my experiences in high school in the United States too, founding and leading the International Club. I gave my lecture and was proud of how I handled it. Even though the audience was older and highly educated, they were respectful to me. At the end of the class a woman from Kandahar Province, where women have fewer opportunities to give speeches, asked me to help her overcome her fear of public speaking. I was very glad that I had valuable skills to share. I realized that being a politician is difficult, but I already have some advantages.
Learning from inspiring women
The stories of these politicians inspired me about working as a leader in my country. The second week of my job, these women were interviewed and their stories were published in the newspaper. I volunteered to be the translator since I spoke different languages. One of the candidates, Sabrina, told us how she refused to wear Burqa after the Taliban regime collapsed because she didn’t see her identity by wearing it and she wanted to see the beautiful world outside of it. She wanted to bring similar changes in people’s lives and that is why she was running for the elections.
Another woman, who lived in Kapisa, wanted to be a defender of Afghan women’s rights. She was the first woman in her province to work as a journalist in a TV station, even though it was not secure for her.
One of the other candidates, Najla, was only 25 years old. As a young and civilized woman, even though she had faced some challenges like being insulted, even threatened, she still wanted to continue and be a good example for other young people. At the end of each story I was so touched that I almost wanted to cry if no one was there. I realized that I want to fight not only for the women’s rights but also for Afghan people’s rights. I want to bring positive changes like Sabrina, Najla and women like them to make Afghanistan a better place to live.
After one month, it was sad that the program was coming to an end. The candidates hugged and thanked me with their sweet gifts for being a good trainer. They told me that they are proud of me to be in a leadership position at such a young age. They encouraged me more by saying that all Afghans are looking forward to seeing a young and motivated generation like me as a leader of Afghanistan in the future.
I am thankful from these amazing women who educated me about their lives, and motivated me about my own future. I learned that it might be hard to become a leader, but it is never impossible. This experience reminded me of how lucky I am to be able to study in the U.S. I believe that being a good student and holding leadership positions in my country and the U.S. helped me to have a good experience from my job.
I would like to continue studying in the U.S., and get good advantages from my education. I want to grow as a leader and besides serving my country, I want to be a responsible global citizen and make a difference in the world. I want to build peaceful relationships between Afghanistan and the world. I will become the voice of my people and represent Afghanistan and its people who are loving and hospitable. Finally, I especially want to support Afghan women and fight for our rights so that every woman will have the opportunity to educate herself and her kids, and in fact train them to become good leaders of the future generation.