My name is Shajan. I am 42 years old and I live in Nangarhar.

Nangahar– I have heard a lot about women’s rights in theory, but I never saw it being practiced. I am an illiterate woman and I am not able to become literate or educated because of the war going on in our country.

In Afghanistan, women are not only not allowed to obtain their basic rights, but they also become the victims in their families. For example, when my daughter got married she was not allowed to continue at school and go to university. She was beaten by her husband and was tortured. She suffered a lot in her young age. I still regret marrying her at the age of 16. She was young and innocent.

I wear the chadari—the blue burqa—and I am not allowed to go alone outside the house. Everyone is illiterate in our house. It is very challenging to study in Afghanistan. The war is going on in some provinces and Kabul recently has had very bad suicide bombings. Three suicide bombings took place within 24 hours. It was terrifying.

If there could be some work that women like me could do from home, projects designed for women, we would be able to earn some money to help our family and help the companies proceed with their work. I always had a dream of being a literate woman, a teacher, to be like a man without fear of doing what is right for me, to be bold, to help the poor and be an example for my children.

From the Islamic point of view, women’s rights are equal to the men’s, but I have spent my whole life regretting being an uneducated woman. I want the government to provide peace and a society where women can work calmly.

By Shajan, as told to Majabeen

Photo: Canada in Afghanistan/Zakarya Gulistani