When I was seven years old in Kandahar, I loved to pretend I was the teacher and I’d teach math to all of the children. But by the time I was eight, I hated the teachers at school because they hit us with a ruler and were very mean so I didn’t want to be a teacher.
Then one day I watched the police rescuing some small children at my school who were about to be hit by a car. From that day forward, I wanted to become a policewoman so I could save people’s lives. I especially wanted the uniform. But then one day in the newspaper, I saw how a lot of people were dying and that the Taliban were killing policemen. If they were killing policemen, what would they do to a policewoman? I told myself that I will never become a policewoman.
I was young then and I didn’t realize that everything we want to achieve in Afghanistan is going to be difficult. Now I have decided to become an oncologist, a cancer doctor.
When I was ten years old, my grandmother passed away from cancer. I know that many people die of cancer, especially the poor people. They can’t afford to go to another country for treatment and they die very young. That day during the sunny morning with my grandmother, I stood on my bed and shouted my decision and then I went into the other room and told my parents that I wanted to be an oncologist and treat as many people as I can.
They appreciated hearing this, although one of my cousins made fun of me. “You can’t do anything because you are really weak. You’re a girl,” he said. But I said that with education we can do positive things, and bring change to everyone’s lives.
Although everyone can go to a doctor, many people believe that women should not see a male doctor. Since Afghanistan doesn’t have many female doctors, many women don’t get treatment.
I plan to study medicine in Afghanistan and do research abroad so that I can learn how to better treat cancer patients in my country. Afghanistan needs more cancer doctors. Cancer of the blood affects many Afghan women and children in particular.
I would also like to become a lawyer. In Kandahar, many girls are not able to go to school and be educated. They are treated very badly because of the culture and their parents’ beliefs. If I am both a doctor and a lawyer, I can better protect the treatment of women. As a lawyer, I can defend humanitarian rights, and as a doctor, I can help people to be happy and healthy with better treatment.
I know that I’ll face a lot of problems before I become a doctor and a lawyer. It is very hard for a girl in Afghanistan. People will make fun of me or not listen or they might even want to kill me. But I will not lose my courage. People need to open their minds to change.
By Shahida, age 14
Powerful words here, Shahida. I admire your passion and the deep love you have for other Afghan women. Your courage and strength will carry you through your goals, which I deeply believe you can reach. It’s so wise what you say: “People need to open their minds to change.”
The world needs you to lead to a better way. Excellent piece. Thanks so much for all of your hard work. Such an honor to work with you!
If there is anyone in this world who is not weak, it is you, Shahida. I really appreciated this essay, the way you took us through your thought processes, how you showed us how you came to realizations and how you built your dreams. With your hard work, with the support of family and teachers (doesn’t have to be all–just a key few) I know you are going to go far. The more you write, the more you create the blueprint for your future. Keep up the beautiful work. Stacy
I am sure that you will be a great doctor and lawyer. With your energy and passion, you will be able to help women and children and open people’s minds to change. I am so happy to know that there are girls like you in Afghanistan. It gives me hope for your beautiful country.
With your courage and bright mind, you will achieve your dreams. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us!
Hello my Dear Shahida!
You are a brave and the most outstanding writer. You are so young and have so open mind and beautiful ideas. am proud of you honey.
Shahida this is a beautiful, I LOVE IT…
Thank you so much for sharing it lovely girl:)
You are an amazing young woman, Shahida, and you will not be held back regardless of the obstacles that are presented to you. Thank you so much for sharing through your essay!
How wise and passionate you are. I applaud you for dreaming big and for having the courage to say what you want to do. You are a strong young woman and there is nothing weak about you. You are choosing a path of much resistance and obstacles, only the strongest will choose the most difficult way. I believe that you can achieve what you are articulating so beautifully. Your country is very lucky to have someone as strong as you. Keep studying, you will go your way. Best wishes and much success.
You have exactly what it takes to be successful and achieve your goals: you have passion, you have a dream and most importantly you have courage. Only weak-minded people will surrender to a broken system, strong-willed and determined individuals like yourself have the ability to make major changes. Listen to your heart and follow your belief. You articulated very well what your country needs to become strong: more people who care about others. Keep studying hard and never, never give up on your dreams. Wishing you much success and continued strength. Christa
I see one common thread in all of your different thoughts about careers. All are careers in which you would help other people (women in particular.) These are admirable goals which you are clearly smart and strong enough to achieve. As you clearly realize, there will be obstacles and some people who will discourage you. But do not let them stand in your way. Women like you, who care so much, are just what the world must have, to progress into a better world.
wow Shahida I feel really sad in what you are going through, but always remember that If theres a will, there is always a way. You are such a determined girl. Im 15 years old, and honestly some girls dont have that much passion like you. I thank you for your story because it has inspired me to do better at my school. You will get there, I believe that you will be a lawyer and a doctor in the future. But remember to surround yourself with people who will support your ideas, and dreams. Hope you all the best for the future. Judy 🙂
Hi Shahida, you have great determination and I hope you achieve your dream careers. You will impact the lives of many women and children in Afghanistan as well as inspire other girls to have courage to do the same.
Thank you for sharing this story.
I think it is extremely empowering and inspirational that your gender was not the most important thing about you; it was your education. I think that sends an amazing message.
As this background upon your arrival upon different career options has been a mentally unstable ride, I believe you, Shahida will turn out to be one great symbol for Afghanistan girls. This writing was very moving and I believe if you can set your mind to it, become one awesome writer as well. I loved the way you have proved a point that women don’t get much privilege and freedom regarding what jobs they want to do in your area. You brought up the many gender racism you’ve gone through in your past and reached out to us readers to show your passion to become a doctor as well as a lawyer. Furthermore, I admire how you have articulated your work around your past and showed that’s what made your courageous decision as an Afghanistan woman, and I’m rooting for you!