Lessons from My Mother

mother and children

This was written for Mother’s Day in Afghanistan.

My mother cannot read and write, but she dedicated her life to raising seven educated and successful children. I want to become a mother like her—a mother for my kids, a mother for my country, and a mother for my world.

My life is full of sweet memories of my mother. When I broke my leg at the age of nine, she was my only nurse. When I got sick, she was the only one who stayed awake all night.

When the Taliban closed schools for girls, my mother sent my sisters and me to the mosque to learn reading in Dari and Arabic. Then when I was eleven, because the schools were still closed, my mother sent me to a tailoring class to learn a skill, one that I still use today. When my father lost his job, my mother worked at home to support the family.

When I had marriage proposals, she always stood behind me to protect me from a forced marriage. When her own sisters blamed her for giving her daughters and sons the right to choose, my mother told them that she wanted her kids to have a different life than hers.

My mother can understand my feelings by my voice and by looking at my eyes. I forget about all my problems and my body releases all the stress when my mother tells me “gham nakhor, hama chiz khob meshawad.” It means don’t worry, everything will be all right.

My mother has always supported me with my goals of helping women of my country.

She says that because her father didn’t let her get an education she feels like a blind person. But she taught me that even without money we can be happy and successful. We can bring positive changes to our families, our country, and our world by loving each other and supporting each other and by working hard.

My mother is my hero and she is the reason why I am very successful today.

By Marzia

Photo: Mette Bastholm/Helmand PRT/Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Department for International Development


  1. This is such a tender, gorgeous tribute to your mother, Marzia. You make me very proud. Please send her greetings and give her a very big hug for me! Stacy

  2. Dear Marzia, What a wonderful role model your mother is. I admire her by reading your beautiful words. You are both amazing women.

  3. Dear Marzia,

    Thank you for telling your story. It is filled with courage and compassion. Please tell your mother there are many people who are educated and cannot see the things she can see. Please continue writing!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear Marzia,

    You have such a brave and strong mother, it is amazing to see her stick up for herself. I’m sure many girls and woman are inspired by your bravery and courage and hope to be like you one day. It is so important for girls and women to stick up for themselves and for what they believe and know is right yet many of them don’t due to the fear that they are living in. What your mother did by doing what she knew was right was an amazing thing for a woman to do given her circumstances she was in. I wish the very best for you and your family and that many women aspire to be like you all over the world.

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