Featured Storyteller

AFGHANISTAN: Dreaming Big for Our Daughters

FahimaSultani
Posted May 6, 2019 from Afghanistan

Fahima Sultani gives thanks to her mother for supporting her education and promises to give her future daughter a life of opportunity.

“It was my mom who raised her voice to give me the freedom of education.

It was a quiet, cold, and windy day in winter when I heard the clergy’s announcement from the mosque’s loudspeaker. He was informing people that it was time to register their children for the coming school year. I ran quickly to my mom with my broad smile and bright eyes and begged her to convince my father to register me for school. Finally, she succeeded and he agreed!

When I went to school on the first day, my mom hugged and kissed me many, many times. With tears in her beautiful eyes, she stroked me with her rough, weathered hands and said, “My dearest, study hard, dream big, and be the best. I couldn’t go to school when I was a girl, but I was very eager to go. I want you to learn to read so you can read stories to me.”

When my mom was a child, she could only attend religious lessons at the mosque. She was never allowed to go to school. She wanted desperately to have a pen, notebook, books and a pink bag, but my grandfather never provided her any. In those days, she played with the neighbor’s son who was going to school. Since my mom was so eager to have a pen and a book, she asked the boy to just let her touch his books and pens. But he told my mom she would have to tend and feed his family’s sheep for five days before he would let her touch his books and pens. She was so passionate for this chance that she agreed. And for five days, from morning until night, she cared for his sheep.

My mom remembers those days. She has done her best to be a better mom than her own mother. Her mom, my grandmother, never tried to send her to school. When one of our relatives argued with my father not to let me attend school, it was my mom who raised her voice to give me the freedom of education. Though her own dreams were never realized, she dreamed big for me.

Now, I have graduated from high school, and I was a top student every year. I made her dream come true and I am working hard to get a scholarship to pursue my education in a better environment and university. This is all possible because of my mom who always stands up and supports me. Though my mother could never help me with my homework or solve any problem I faced, she played the key role in my studies.

I dream of a different life for the daughter I will have some day. She will do the things that I was not able to do: She will go to the best school and ride a pink bike. I will always support her through every problem she faces at school or with her homework or projects. I will make her feel comfortable to share her thoughts and dreams with me, and I will help her to make them come true. I will NEVER let my daughter feel disappointed about being a girl. I want her to grow up feeling proud of her gender.

My daughter will not have to convince her family to let her finish high school. She will not have to beg to attend university. Our relatives will have no right to oppose our decisions. My daughter’s world will be safe and free from violence. She will grow up in an environment where she can stay outside after 5pm. Men and boys will not be a threat for her, so we will let her talk to boys and other male classmates without the fear of what people will say or what bad things may happen to her.

My daughter will grow up in a place where she can talk loudly at home and in the streets and laugh without everyone stopping to stare and disapprove. She will feel safe while walking outside in the evening, daytime, and early morning. She will feel safe taking a taxi alone. She will proudly ride a bike on the streets. She will talk on her mobile phone outside her home and not worry that random boys will ask for her phone number. She will wear jeans, or short dresses, athletic wear, or business clothes and boys will not chase and disturb her.

My mother dreamed big so I could have a better life than she has had. And I will dream bigger so my daughter will have a better life than me.


STORY AWARDS

This story was published as part of the World Pulse Story Awards program. We believe every woman has a story to share, and that the world will be a better place when women are heard. Share your story with us, and you could receive added visibility, or even be our next Featured Storyteller! Learn more.

Comments 15

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Tamarack Verrall
May 06
May 06

Dear Fatima,
What a beautiful and powerful story teller you are, and what a deeply moving story of what your grandmother lived, what your mother lived, what your mother did standing so strong for you and what you have accomplished. It made my heart both cry, and leap for joy. I love how you have managed to describe incredible leaps forward from your mother's dream for you, and now yours for your future daughter. You bring this strength to your whole community, and now here. How great that you are here with us all in World Pulse!

Paulina Nayra
May 06
May 06

So touching, moving and powerful. Love the pace, the rhyme and rhythm of the story. Most of all, I love your mom and you of course. Hugs.

Tshilobo Matanda
May 07
May 07

OMG what a touching story. Thanks for sharing with us your dreams. They'll come true and you Will have time to celebrate them. We Will continu to speak out and raise our Voice for ending violence against Women.

esther atosha
May 07
May 07

this a verry inspiring storry .congratulation to your mum she is a verry brave women

Dear Fatima,

Congratulations for the well-deserved award as a Featured Storyteller! This is such a touching piece of how a mother will always want the best for her children just as your mother gave you better opportunities, you also dream to provide a far better environment for your children. And just as your mother was able to encourage you to aim for bigger accomplishments, you can also achieve your dreams for your future daughter.

Please continue to write!

emilie21
May 07
May 07

What an example of inspiration ! This is the story that a lot of children need to learn.

Jill Langhus
May 07
May 07

Hello Fahima!

Congrats on winning the story award, dear, for your amazing story:-) Looking forward to seeing more from you...

Keturah Shammah
May 07
May 07

Dear Fahima
Am glad reading your story! Keep your dream bigger and bigger! Lokking forward to if possible hearing about your daughter's dream too

Keturah

Olutosin
May 07
May 07

Fatima, this made me shed tears.
Many things that people take for granted are luxury to many people in many countries.
Congratulations dear sister.
Your mother is supreme. She dreamt through you.

Jacqueline Namutaawe

Hello Fatima it is a beautiful story many thanks to your mother who stood with you all the way. A standing ovation to all mothers who support their daughters to go to school. Yes I am also a product of that my grandmother was also very instrumental in my primary years of school.

Mauwa Brigitte
May 08
May 08

Bonjour!
Merci pour votre héro maman qui a pu vous conduire dans la vie. Courage avec la vision de l'aigle.

Adriana Greenblatt
May 12
May 12

Dear Fahima,
Wow, congratulations on your well-deserved story award for this moving, inspiring story! I love how you put out there the world your daughter will live in -- this is even more powerful than the hope -- you are painting the world she and all women will live in!!

Much love from Montreal, Canada,
Adriana

Lisbeth
May 12
May 12

Congrats on your award :-) keep dreaming big.

maeann
May 13
May 13

Hi Fatima,
Congratulations!!! I like how you stand with your future daughter. I support you on your dream of bringing up your daughter to feel safe, proudly ride a bike on streets and talk with confident. How amazing you have a great Mom who supported you. Spread your wings and fly!!!

Jensine Larsen
May 15
May 15

I love your story, you have your mothers determination in you!