Gol Makai, 54, is an uneducated woman with six children in Balkh Province.

Mazar E Sharif— I start every day with the hope that today there will be no war and no suicide bombs and I will spend my day in peace. I get very sad every time a suicide attack happens and it kills and injures many people.

I would be happy to just feel safe and be able to relax one day.

I would have loved to be literate so I could help my family. If I were literate I could leave the house and learn new things in life. But my father was an intransigent person and he did not believe that girls should study and learn. When I was young he did not let us go to school and learn and progress in our lives. When we asked him a question, he would tell us we should be quiet because we are girls.

I would like to be able to help my children when they come and ask me for help with their lessons. But I tell them, “I am like a blind person. I am illiterate and I cannot help with your lessons.”

I spend my day cleaning the house and cooking. This is the job of uneducated women.  My husband does not like me go out of the home. But most people want to have nothing to do with me because I am illiterate. They are not friendly.

If there is a sign that must be read I ask people around me to tell me what it says. When I see girls wearing trousers and carrying a bag I know they are educated and so I ask for help from them. I say “Please, my daughter, help me. I am illiterate. I need your help.” I would have loved to learn and take a literacy course.

By Gol Makai, as told to Humaira