Ellaha was born in Kabul but emigrated to Pakistan with her family during the Taliban period. Returning in 2005, she worked in a charity hospital and played for the Afghan Women’s National Basketball Team. She believes participation in sports helps instill confidence and “teaches them they could be much more than who they are.”
I remember the hot days of the Pakistani summers. I would walk home from school tired and thirsty, change from my black and white uniform to comfy panjabi (a Pakistani outfit), and head to my tutoring school.
I have always been enthusiastic about sports, but when I was younger, I was told only boys could play sports, which disappointed me and made me regret being a girl.
On my way to the U.S. as a high school exchange student, I stopped in Tajikistan, and a friend of mine who used to be a basketball player taught me the basic moves.
Voting for the first time was quite exciting for me. Not just because I was voting, but rather it was a feeling that I could make a difference. My vote makes a difference and I can choose who is going to be our future president. I was on the basketball court when my classmates came to me and told me about election cards they were distributing in my high school.
I remember January. A memorable night, round moon, stars shining in the clear sky, and all because I met you for the first time. / I remember February. The cold days when my friends and I were making a snowman on the roof of my house and you came to help us. / I remember March. We became good friends in English class during a debate about money and education.