SOLA is a people-to-people, non-profit organization dedicated to furthering educational and leadership opportunities in Afghanistan and the world for the new generation of Afghans, especially for women.Â SOLA envisions an Afghanistan with a vibrant, globally competitive, private economy providing opportunity to create substantial, legitimate wealth for both Afghan men and women. An Afghanistan that offers entrepreneurial, training and sustainable educational opportunities to all, thriving in its use of new technologies and operating within the rule of law. To learn more about SOLA,Â please click hereÂ you can also find them on Facebook too.Â
For International Women’s Day some of the SOLA students wroteÂ shortÂ essays on what it means to be a women in Afghanistan, please take the time to read theseÂ insightfulÂ essays.
The Value of Girls
Afghanistan is a traditional country where roles are based on religious rules and traditions, and these traditional rules are transferred from generation to generation. In this kind of society, rules and traditions dictate what people should value and respect.
In Afghan society, traditions work against girls; girls do not have any value at all. If a woman gives birth to a girl, it is like a crime; sometimes it causes the womanâ€™s husband to marry another wife.
For example, in my own family, my mother gave birth to three girls back to back. Our relatives were saying to my father, â€œYou should marry a second wife.â€ But my father stood against those wrong traditions and said, â€œI am proud of my daughters and no one can say anything wrong about my daughters and my wife.â€
I hope that one day each Afghan stands up against these old and very wrong traditions and knows the value of girls, just as my father does!
The Right to Study
Women are strong. Women make Afghanistan. They give birth. They create life. If women were not here, we would not be here. If my mother was not in the world, my brother, my sisters and I would not be here.
Womenâ€™s positions are high. They are good workers for our country. They fight for our country. So we should be happy, and we should not say women are bad or that we should hit them. We should not disturb women or girls when they are going somewhere.
We should be happy whatever women do. We should be proud of them, and we should not be hopeless. I wish for Afghan women to develop more and more until they become good leaders for Afghanistan. Women can be good leaders if they study. They can teach, and they can make their families happy. They have the right to study! I wish all women would be allowed to study.
This New Generation of Women
My dream for Afghanistan is that Afghanistan becomes an improved country. Men and women in Afghanistan do not have equal rights. Every woman deserves to have equal rights!
Many women have to stay at home because women cannot go anywhere without the permission of their husbands. That said, women are not allowed to go outside for work.
If we see our society and our country, we can see a lot of women in Afghanistan are educated. But a small minority of women is able to go outside to work. Some of them are teachers, some are doctors, and some are nurses.
But a majority of women do not have the opportunity to work outside the home. This new generation wants to celebrate International Womenâ€™s Day. We want women in all the world â€” especially in Afghanistan â€” to have equal rights.
From Impossible to Possible
Afghanistan is a country without respect for or attention to women. Women are in a bad situation. For example, they canâ€™t go outside without permission, and also they donâ€™t have that much opportunity to show their talents, or go to a foreign country to get a better education. However, in spite of all these problems we should be optimistic about womenâ€™s future in Afghanistan and remove this stifling situation.
I hope that one day a girl from Afghanistan can go to space and discover new things that no one has found yet.Â Maybe a girl from Afghanistan can make a robot that can make life more comfortable for humans. Actually, now women in Afghanistan have many arts like handicrafts, but this is the only way that women can earn money for themselves.
Secondly, I hope that one day women can be powerful judges in court, because in Afghanistan there is nobody to judge honestly about women. Sometimes judges think that women are criminals, even though they are not, and they will give women some terrible punishments that are out of regulation.
In conclusion, I want to say that we should be optimistic about womenâ€™s future and always encourage them to try hard and change all those impossibilities to possibilities and never let anyone misuse womenâ€™s rights.
A Cruel System for Women
The system for women is bad in Afghanistan. Girls canâ€™t go to school because first, their parents donâ€™t let them to go to school. Second, they donâ€™t have a safe environment, and people disturb them on their way to school.Â Third, we donâ€™t have good schools to study in, and the method of teaching is bad in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan women are supposed to have a man with them, because people in Afghanistan think that women are very weak when they do not have a man with them.
Laws often work against Afghan women. If a woman has a case in court, the laws donâ€™t help her without a man. For example, my mom has a case to take her inheritance from my uncles, but because my father has died and my mom doesnâ€™t have a man with her, the laws donâ€™t help her in her court case. Even when the laws do not deny a woman her rights, men use the power they have to keep women from getting the power they deserve. My uncles give bribes to the government in order to keep my mom from getting her inheritance.
I have a dream that the government will give women their inheritances. My second dream is that women will work in government because having more compassion in the government will help eliminate the cruelty that exists in the system now.
Girls Known by Their Own Names
Today I write as an Afghan girl who does not want the next generation to face gender discrimination as she does today. This girl feels that Afghanistan cannot improve while Afghan society does not give girls the same opportunity as boys. She hopes that one day her dream will become real. She dreams that a girl will be able to live independently, make decisions about her future and be known by her name. Girls will support themselves with their own income, hard work and education. They will feel that they exist separately from the men around them and be able to count on themselves. I hope one day girls will be educated enough to be aware of their rights in order to stand against societyâ€™s challenges and take their rights. They will know that their rights are not given to them as a gift.
I wish one day girls will decide about their lives and not give this right to other people, as is usual in Afghan society. Sometimes they cannot decide about some personal things because they have already been decided for them by traditions. For example, if today I wear long clothes or a scarf, it is because if I do not do this, my family will not let me go to school or do other activities. This happens to girls all the time. If this small decision leads to problems, think of the problems surrounding big decisions!
I have a dream that one day girls will be known by their own names, not as daughters, wives and sisters of so-and-so. For example, my name is Sakina, but my relatives know me by my fatherâ€™s name. Worse than that, sometimes people use derogatory names like Siah-sar and Koch. This is the situation. We see it every day, but still we cannot stop it. I wish one day girls will have the ability to change this situation.
In conclusion, I hope my dreams become real. I will see Afghan girls live independently, make decisions about their lives and be known by their names. However, it will be difficult to change these bad traditions that rule the society. But by following the path of the women all over the world who stood against those traditions and rules that ignored women rights, we can change the situation.