Her Daughter Is With Her

I was born in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, the oldest child of Afghani parents, with one brother and one sister. My childhood experiences in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban make me understand the difficulties people in such situations face, and makes me try my best to help my community through my education. Of these experiences, I want to speak.

When I reached the age of seven, I realized my father was an unfaithful, dishonest person who had never loved my mother, never shared his thoughts with her, and always lied about his business and his private life. He never liked to take care of his kids and he always stayed out of the house for months and months without telling my mother. At that time, we lived with my maternal grandparents in Pakistan. They supported us financially and educationally and never let us feel that we had a careless father. They always encouraged us to get a better education and focus on our future. My mom always hoped that one day my father would come back and we would have our own house. Unfortunately, this hope ended when my mother was informed that my father was celebrating his engagement party. After hearing this news, my mom fainted and became withdrawn. She started thinking she was the reason that my father treated us like this. Then she planned to travel to the city where my father was living and make him understand that he had a family and did not need to have another. When she arrived there, my father was shocked that she had found out about his secret engagement party.

My parents argued with each other for many days, and unfortunately my father did not listen to my mom; he started planning his wedding. On the day of his wedding party, he took us to his uncle’s house and told us he had some important work to finish and that when he was done, he would come back and take us home. We did not know anything about his wedding party, but by the blessing of God, my grandmother arrived from Pakistan. When she saw the preparations for her son-in-law’s wedding party, she asked my father about her daughter and grandkids. My father kept quiet because he could not tell her the truth. Finally he let us leave. My mom did not say anything to my father because of her pain. She did not attend the wedding party of her husband because she did not want to see my father’s face, full of deceit.

My father offered to let us live with his second wife. My mom accepted and wanted to start a new life, but my stepmother started accusing my mom and did not want my mom to have any authority at home. My stepmom tried to create a bad environment inside the house. She told my father to divorce my mom and let his kids be uneducated. She wanted my mother and us children to be her servants. We were locked in the house and treated very badly. When my maternal grandparents found out how badly we were treated, they decided to try everything to get us back to Pakistan, and were successful. My grandparents were afraid for our future. When we returned, they enrolled my siblings and me at school and paid all our living expenses. I started to study very hard to have a better position in life and show my father I could achieve a better life that without his assistance. My mom always encouraged me to achieve my goals and never wanted us to feel that we were without a father. She is both a mother and a father.

In 2005, my grandparents decided to relocate, because by that time the Taliban regime had ended and the situation in Afghanistan was getting better. When we moved, I continued my education and attended high school as a first-year student. I took English and computer classes to improve my skills. After learning English, I started teaching young kids, because it seemed to me that by teaching others, I could learn myself. As a junior, I participated in a youth exchange program and was selected as a finalist. I received my visa to travel to the United States. That day was one the most memorable moments of my life, because I felt this was the first step out of our problems. Thanks to the support of my grandparents and my mother, I lived the United States for a year. I was admitted to high school as a junior and earned a 4.0. After a year, I came back to Afghanistan, and I will graduate this year.

I have faced many challenges in my life, but because of them, I realized how to become a stronger person. Now it is my wish to achieve my goals. I want to help and support helpless people who have same types of stories full of pain and tears. I want to give them the hope of a better life. And I want to bring back happiness to my mom and have our own house which would be full of love and trust. I want to show my father that my mother is not alone. Her daughter is with her.

By Jeena


Comments

  1. This is a beautiful story! You have found hope and goodness all around you even though you have been down a difficult path. The people you help in the future will be inspired by your story and wisdom. I loved the way you ended this piece too. Perfect!

  2. Mary Fitzhugh says:

    Thank God for maternal grandparents! You deserve two good parents, but at least you got one (the more important one). May your future path be strewn with joy!

  3. This was beautifully written, thank you, and best wishes to you and your family!

  4. I really am feeling proud to see my Afghan girl very strong, we have got a lot of Afghan boys if you put them in this situation they will give up and will loose their self, some times girl became stronger than man and that is what you proved.

    I wish you all the best in your future plans, and dont forget that end the saying you just mentioned, help and support helpless Afghans!

    There are hundreds or maybe thousands of helpless females who need you, just reach to your goal and keep this helping concept beside.

    Best wishes to your family and you.

  5. Liliane says:

    I am sorry about this happening to you. You are not alone – this has happened to many women in many different cultures and different walks of life throughout history. Unfortunately, in a country as poor as Afghanistan right now and with the refugee situation, it can happen openly and at the drop of a hat. In the past, with a more cohesive society it would have been harder for the father to escape his duties as a father. But – you have very very wonderful grandparents. Celebrate them – life opens doors. Use your education not just to help your mother, but others in your situation as you want to do. I am very interested in your situation and welcome hearing more from you. We should all be committed to helping young women in your shoes – congratulations on coming to the US and finishing a year of high school with such success.

  6. Sakhi Hassany says:

    Dear Jeena:
    You are not a lone, I am really proud of you that you made to the end of High School year and now to the University…This piece was a real Touching ang nice one. Good Job and wish you luck and Success in your life.

  7. Elizabeth D. says:

    Jeena,
    I applaud your work ethic and optimism despite such a tough family history. An education will get you far in life, whether in the United States or Middle East. Congratulations on your 4.0! I am currently a college student and find it extremely unfortunate how so many of my peers do not take school seriously by missing class and avoiding work. Keep working hard, you have such a bright future ahead of you!

  8. Kimberly V. says:

    Good job achieving a 4.0! Getting a good education is very important. You have a bright future and I am excited to read future posts!

  9. Maureen D says:

    Jeena, this was such a beautiful story. Congratulations on earning a 4.0 and being chosen to come to the U.S! Your hard work and dedication has shown that you have become a strong person, despite all of your past troubles. Your story is an inspiration to us all, and I look forward to reading more posts from you in the future!

  10. Lydia D says:

    This was a wonderful story, Jeena! It seems like you have overcome a lot of hardships in your life and you are now a better person because of it. Your hard work and dedication to your education and your other goals is very inspiring. Keep up the good work!

  11. Dominic D. says:

    Jeena, this is such a beautiful story, and you are very blessed to have such a loving mother as well as such loving grandparents. Do not lose your optimistic spirit, because, when you believe you can achieve something, nothing is impossible. I’m sure that your story will touch many people.

  12. Dear Jeena,

    I am really speechless after reading your story. You are such a strong, loving, courageous person. I am so glad you had the opportunity to live in the U.S. for the year you did. It is so unfortunate that when women are treated poorly as your mother has been, they feel they are somehow to blame, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I send prayers for your monther’s heart to be mended after what she has gone through. Your maternal grandparents are beacons of light. Thank goodness for them! Please know that as you tell your story, it lives in our bodies, hearts and minds, too. I send you all my best wishes and applaud your courage, sensitivity, intelligence and strength.

  13. Jeena,

    I am an American teenager, and right now my class is reading this website. Your story is a source of inspiration to many. Keep writing.

    Maggie.

  14. This is well written piece that your heart and courage shine through. Thank you for sharing and I wish you much success as you achieve your goals!

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  1. […] you are a woman in Afghanistan, stories like this are all too familiar, and most of them do not end as happily as this one. These women not only do […]

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