When I was eight years old, my mother gave birth to another boy. I had wanted a sister. When 2009 came and my mother was pregnant again I was happy with my brothers because they loved me and they played with me, but I still wondered if I could have a sister.

I prayed a lot to God about it. Sometimes I felt proud of myself because most families in Afghanistan don’t want girls. My cousins would laugh at me and say, “You are really strange because we want a lot of brothers but no sisters and you want a sister!”

I would say, “All people in this world are different. I think having both sisters and brothers makes the best family.”

I wanted a sister because I was bored with my brothers. But I am the oldest child and I wanted to know what was right. Did my parents behave the same as other people? I saw people’s reactions when a new baby girl came into the world. They acted sad and wished aloud that they had a son or brother. They wanted a girl who would work at home, tell them to wash, to clean up. But I think a daughter is the same as a son. She has to have equal rights too.

One day all of my relatives came to my house. I played with them and we watched scary movies at night. At 6 a.m. my mother went to the hospital and when she came home, in her arms was the new baby. I thought it was my sister. I was really happy, but then my aunt told me I had a new brother.

I didn’t play or watch movies or eat lunch. At night, my father brought me chocolates, and said, “Did you see your brother?” I said, “No!” He told me to go and see him. When I went to see the baby it was a girl. The baby was my sister and I screamed with happiness. I felt like I was flying.

Now my sister is five and she is a clever child. She is in second grade and in the top position. When she grows up, I will share with her everything that happened in the past, and help her study. I am really proud of my family because they love my sister and me as much as our brothers.

By Shahida, age 13