Mursal Rahim, 26
I was born in 1996 in Kunduz, a small city in the north of Afghanistan, when the Taliban took over Afghanistan for the first time, and like today, did not allow girls to get an education. But in 2001, the Taliban lost power, and at age 5, I started school with a lot of dreams. Even as a child, I felt that I was now free.
I remember how excited and happy I was even though my school had no chairs, no blackboards, no books — the classroom in ruins from the war. My class had girls from 5 to 14 years old. We studied together because we were the first generation of girls to go to school after five years of the Taliban.
Some days we could not attend class because the Taliban were attacking. Twice, the Taliban took over the city for days. Each time we had to go to Kabul for weeks, covering up completely to escape the city. I still remember this feeling: Maybe today will be the last day I will be allowed to attend school.
In high school I had a classmate who was 17 when she got married. The man always beat her. I told her that one day I would become a lawyer and help her divorce.
I started law school. While there, I had a mentorship at a nonprofit organization that helped women who were beaten by their husbands. A woman told me her husband had beat her more than once. I asked her: Why don’t you get a divorce? She said she could not do that because without an education and a job, she had nowhere to go if she left him.
After law school, I planned get a my master’s degree but in August of last year, when the Taliban took over, my country went back 21 years.
For years, the war has filled moments of my life and childhood. My people and I have experienced the loss of family, friends, our homes and our homeland. The good days that we hoped for, never came.
I never imagined becoming a refugee. I left Afghanistan to continue my education. I want to show that how strong Afghan women are, and I want to use the opportunity I have in the United States of studying. And I will do it.
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