When I was a child, I read a book about famous people who brought change in their countries and even in the world. The book was about successful people such as Marie Curie, Mahatma Gandhi, the Iranian poet Parvin E’tesami, and Abraham Lincoln. I loved all of the stories. I read the book often and I kept thinking about how these people brought such great changes and relief to their people from disasters.

I wondered if I could bring change in my community one day. But it was the Taliban era and girls’ schools were shut. It seemed impossible. Then I convinced myself these successful people were not so different. They came from poor families and they barely had access to education either, yet they were able to succeed.

Eventually I was able to get back into school and finish my studies. I was determined to do something. My pen was the only power I had in my hands. Everything I see around me inspires me to write, particularly inequality in the society.  So when the new Mosque was opened at American University in Afghanistan this year and I discovered it was only for boys, it was like a nightmare. I did not expect that an American University would not allow girls in their new mosque.

I wrote about this, how women were not welcome at the new mosque. AWWP published my voice and after the story was published, the university said it would do something about the situation. I thought that maybe the university would put a curtain in the middle of the Mosque to create a section for girls to pray. I never expected that AUAF would take such an unprecedented step of building a separate mosque for girls.

But on June 10 they said that a women’s mosque with a capacity of 50 worshippers will be built behind the professors’ offices on the campus in Kabul. There were no more details, but an official at the university told me more information about it will be announced soon. “The news is true,” she said.

I am hopeful it will be built very soon and I can spend a little bit of time there with Allah alone.

Sometimes when we expect something, we never receive it; other times when we least expect it, something happens like magic. Now, I believe that I can change the current situation not by force, but by my pen.

By Sitara B. 

Photo of the inauguration of the men’s only mosque courtesy AUAF.