In this article, I am sharing with you the story of how I and my best friend in Afghanistan, continued to study after our schools were closed by the Taliban Regime temporarily.
After the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban Regime, all the schools, universities and other academic institutions were all closed until further notice. It was very difficult for me to stay at home and do nothing. Before the Taliban takeover, I used to work as a part time employee in Zawia Media and make animations about political topics. I was working in Zawia Media part time as I was in the last year of my high school as well. From working and studying the whole day my life changed to just being at home and not doing much. It was very difficult. Fortunately, my family was being very supportive to each other. I have a sister who lives in Bishkek-Kyrgyzstan where she works and studies (Zarlasht Sarmast) she had left the country just a few months before the takeover as her university and office switched back to offline from online mode. She started online English classes for me and for my best friend in Afghanistan in a WhatsApp group.
This was like light in the darkness for us. The classes were very simple and fun. The writing activities were super interesting for both me and my best friend. These online classes helped us a lot during those difficult times. Before the classes, I used to overthink about a lot of things, like my education, my future my country and many other things. They were mostly sad and depressing thoughts. We started by writing short essays of up to 300 to 400 words at first.
Then later the classes changed. We were getting a few questions like prompts and we were asked to answer to those questions. The questions were formulated in a way that was helping us to express our feelings and thoughts through writing. It was really helpful.
Some of the questions were as follows:
- How did you feel when the Taliban first entered the country?
- What was some of your thoughts?
- How did you feel when all academic centers were closed?
- Do you try to control your thoughts? How?
- What do you think you should do when you have too many thoughts? How do think you should help yourself?
- Anything else you wish to write?
These tasks helped me practice mindfulness as well as English Language. We were asked to respond to the questions in English language only. Once we had submitted our assignments, we would get them back with comments, corrections and feedback from my sister. We would be asked to read them very carefully and not to repeat the same mistakes in the next essays.
Sometime later, we were able to leave the country and be evacuated to Pakistan through the Torkham border. From there we were going to travel to Germany-Berlin so that I could continue my education and my mom could save her life and become a TSI program scholar. It was not easy for us at all. I grew up my entire life in Afghanistan, I had to leave my friends, my home, my school and literally everything I had in life just to be safe and to be able to study. When we left Afghanistan and arrived to Pakistan, there were a mixture of so many things like cultural shocks, thinking about my friends, my loved ones, our home, my neighborhood and many other things kept my thoughts occupied. Again, I lost my motivation one more time. I didn’t have much to do and I didn’t know the country. Everything was alien to me.
The good thing was that my sister one more time started the classes and I had something to be busy with during the day. I was on Pakistan and my best friend was in Kabul. But the classes were online so we were still working together only online. The ESL online classes really saved our lives in those hard times. I wonder what would I have done if I didn’t have these classes. I would have probably gotten very bad depression or something like that. After I arrived to Berlin I started studying at Bard College Berlin with the help of PIESC program at BCB I got a full scholarship to continue my studies here. There was not a big need for me to continue those classes here as I started studying full time.
Sometimes when I think about those days, I think about all the other boys and girls who are still in Afghanistan without any opportunities. I want to start the online English classes for my friends in WhatsApp as well. It was very helpful for me and I think it will be helpful for other students as well.
I think if all Afghans across the world come together and think about what can we do to support education, especially for females in Afghanistan, we can make a difference.
We all know that Taliban are not going to be the government of Afghanistan forever, because there are thousands of student who are studying abroad and they are the future of Afghanistan. All we need is to come together and fight for our rights, for our sisters and mothers’ rights, we have to fight for our beloved country and make it colorful and bright like it deserves to be. If not us, who? If not now, When? Let’s be kind, let’s do what we can in our power to make the world a better place to live.