Parwan Wafa one of the many women facing difficulty in Afghanistan shared her story.
Recently, Parwin was invited to a talk in London by Amnesty international. She is from Afghanistan and had never travelled abroad; this was the first time in England.
The talk was a great inspiration to me. Parwin spoke of the life she had lived in Afghanistan and the difficult times she faced.
Parwin Wafa is a head teacher at a girl’s school, which she first opened in the Laghman province of Afghanistan during the time of the Taliban. As a brave woman she risked the possible dangers she could have faced for opening a school for girls. An act, looked upon as a ‘crime’ in the time of the Taliban.
Despite the fact that she was threatened, followed and attacked on many occasions she said, “I was in a lot of danger, but my life didn’t matter anymore. I just wanted to change the life those girls lived . . .
I was told by my beloved father that the best thing a mother and a woman could give any child is the gift of education and I believed it was my duty to fulfill my fathers dream and help as many Afghan girls and women as possible . . .
The threats I faced did not stop me from succeeding. In fact, they made me stronger.”
During the years she taught at her school, her husband and children were always a target for the Taliban. She was attacked by bombs but survived all incidents.
She said her life was not at all easy because she always left her house in fear that she may be attacked again. Her courage to keep her school, cost her the life of her son.
The Taliban kidnapped her son and in return demanded her to close the school and pay $20,000 for her son’s release. She received phone calls everyday threatening that her son would be killed but she did not accept the end to her school and didn’t have $20,000 to give for his release.
“My son was a hero, he was a handsome looking man who supported me in all I chose to do for the women of Afghanistan. He always encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing.”
After a month of his disappearance, his body was found in the gutter near her home in Laghman.
She said her life changed after the death of her son, “My heart was broken when I heard he had been found dead. I did not know what to do or who to turn to. My tears had dried because of my constant crying everyday for the month he was missing. I could only think of one thing. Revenge. And the only way I could have done that was to keep the school open and expand it in order to show my enemies that I was no longer worried or disturbed by their threats.”
After her talk the people who had attended asked her many questions, they were all stunned by her courage to see past her sons’ death and carry on with her school.
She was asked what she wanted the people in the West to do in order to help her, she said, “All I ask for is help. Although the troops are now leaving Afghanistan, I wish for the support to still be there, I want the people in the West to help us as much as possible and never to forget us and the conditions we are in.”
After the talk I approached her and invited her to the BBC, I wanted to show her around and introduce her to the BBC Afghan Service. She agreed and spent the day touring the BBC, after which we went out for a coffee and discussed the future of Afghanistan.
I asked her about the future of Afghanistan and if she thinks Afghanistan will be able to protect itself from evil without the help from the foreign troops, and she said, “I think the Afghan army can protect the people of Afghanistan, but only if they are provided with the right gear and the right training. Afghanistan is hungry for peace and its people will do anything and everything for a brighter future.”