Sahar was a happy child who spent all her time in the garden playing with her doll. “What is weeding?” she’d ask her doll.
She didn’t know anything about problems or work. When her mom told her she should do housework, she said, “I am little. I can’t do housework. I want to play with my friend.”
Sahar had two brothers and one sister. When she was ten, she would sometimes help her brother and sister study. They lived in Kabul and her father had a small shop and her mother did the housework. They had a good life and were very happy.
One day her father came home from his shop in pain.
“What is wrong?” Sahar’s mother asked.
“I am not feeling well,” he said.
He went to the doctor, who told him he had a heart problem. Everyone was very sad. Sahar’s father died a year later. Her mom cried. That was when their problems began.
Her mother went to work in other people’s houses, washing clothes. It was a hard time for the family.
When Sahar’s uncle came from Iran, he smoked drugs and told Sahar that she had to marry.
“No, I won’t marry,” Sahar said. “I am too young and I want to help my mom.”
Her uncle insisted. “You have to get married,” he said.
The man was 65 and he had two wives. He gave money to Sahar’s family and she had to marry him and be his third wife. She was just twelve.
Sahar cried all the time. “I don’t need money,” she said. “I want to help my mom, my brothers, and my sister. This is not my time to be married. I want to study, but no one listens to me.”
Sahar’s mother could not help her. Sahar’s uncle warned her, “If Sahar goes to your house, I will kill you.” So Sahar could not go home.
One day when her husband was not at home, Sahar went to the kitchen, got a knife, and killed herself.
It is three years later and now her uncle is sad and sick. He admits he was wrong. Sahar’s mother can think only about her daughter and cry.
Photo by Paula Bronstein / Getty Images