Halima Is My Hero


Everyone liked Halima’s husband because he was a very kind and nice man. He was a soldier and a tank driver. He was inside of the tank when rockets attacked it and when he climbed out of the tank my father saw him. He was on fire. He ran to the river in his heavy military uniform to stop the flames, but it was summer and the river was dry. People tried to help, but it was too late and he died.

Halima was a beautiful young widow with two young children, a daughter and a son. Many men had eyes on Halima and wanted to marry her as a second wife, but they were scared to propose to her since according to the culture, her brothers-in-law had the priority to marry her. But Halima refused all of the marriage proposals. My mother told me how one of Halima’s brothers-in-law threatened to take away her two children if she did not marry him, but still she refused.

It was not easy for a beautiful young widow to stay single, but she survived. So other women wouldn’t gossip about her she stopped wearing colorful dresses and threading her face and eyebrows.

Halima improved her midwifery skills and soon she was helping every woman in my community to give birth. She never failed in her career. She worked in Herat’s 400 Bed Hospital and she also helped women give birth at home. Halima helped my mother give birth to nine children at home. When I came into this world I opened my eyes to her face and she later became my hero.

Halima helped hundreds of other women by going to villages and training them as midwives so they could help themselves financially. She stood up against her culture and proved that a woman can survive without a man. Halima took good care of her two children and educated them. She changed many people’s minds and ideas about women. All the men and women in my community respect Halima and appreciate her hard work and support for their women and children.

On this International Women’s Day, I think about Halima—my hero—and the millions of other heroes in Afghanistan and all around the world who are rising up and breaking the chains to make the world a better place for all of us.

By Marzia


  1. Marzia, this is a wonderful story–and a positive one! Always a happy experience to read about change by example. Lovely. Thanks again.

  2. Dear Marzia: Oh I hope Halima will read this–or that you will get the chance to read this to her personally. What a great heroine she is–so very accomplished–and how wonderful it is to know that it was into her hands that you were born. Thank you for sharing about her life and her gifts to her community. Well done! Stacy

  3. Halima and all the women like her in the world are my heros. I will think of Halima when I have a problem and realize that there is power , so much power, in walking the path of courage and what you believe is right. Halima, you are a woman but you are so much , so much more to me. Thank you for your courage.

  4. Camilla Packroff says:

    Dear Marzia,

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story with us. When reading this story, I was reminded of the strong-minded women that I have in my life and how amazing it is to see that there will always be some who stand up for what they believe. People like Halima, who are struck by a terrible fate and yet manage to find a new purpose in life, should be an inspiration to all women, and men, around the world. It is beautiful to see that Halima decided not to let herself be pushed down by the men in her community, but rather work hard to become the best she could be. This form of self-actualization is an important goal in each and everyone’s life, yet many people fail to find the right path to follow. I hope that Halima gets to know how much support she has outside her small community, and that she is a great symbol for reaching one’s personal goal. I admire her strong will and determination to live her life the way she wants to, as well as her ability to not be affected by people talking about her.

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