“I will give the world a positive message”, said Rabina. “I want the world to know that Afghanistan is more than just about war and that women here are much more than the oppressed images shown by the media. We have sports, we have opportunities, we are hardworking and we are the future of this country. I want to become a journalist because we need a platform to have our voices heard”.
Born in Iran, where her parents had fled when the Taliban took over Afghanistan in the late nineties, Rabina came to Kabul when she was three years old. She recalls that life was difficult for her family and her father died a few years later from diabetes. With no one to support them, her mother went to Marastoon and found refuge there for herself, Rabina and Rabina’s younger brother and sister. It was here, at age eleven, that Rabina joined the Scouts and, as she says, “became more social and learned how to act properly”.
Not only that, but the Scouts motivated her and pushed her to have goals. Initially, she thought she would inevitably become a doctor because that is what all the other Scouts aspired to, but she soon realized there were lots of options and she set her mind to becoming a journalist. She graduated from the Michelle Bayat School at Marastoon and is now in her first year of university. In the meantime, she and her family had left Marastoon after 10 years and are now living in the nearby Afshar district. Her mother completely supports her family by working as a cook in a hotel in Shar-e-naw. “My mother is my rock, my champion, and my inspiration”, says Rabina.
Rabina is also inspired by the famous Afghan singer Aryana Sayeed, not for her stardom, but for the example, she sets for Afghan women. “No one wanted her to sing. They said it wasn’t right for a woman, but she did it anyway and she showed us that no one can stop us and that we have to reach our goals”. Rabina gives credit to PARSA, too, for motivating her. “PARSA is a joyful place, where we can be ourselves and no one tries to silence us or tell us something isn’t possible just because we are girls”.
Now eighteen years old, Rabina has a busy life. She attends an English class at PARSA every morning for two hours, and then works the rest of the day as a Scout manager, coordinating and supervising the activities of three troops of girls. In the evening she attends university to pursue her ambition of becoming a journalist. When asked about the risks of being a female journalist in Afghanistan, she doesn’t hesitate to say, “I love my country. I have to do this”.