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 28

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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!

Cbrown
Aug 27
Aug 27

thank you for sharing

Alex Staufacar
Aug 27
Aug 27

Congratulations to you Fatima, and to your mother! Keep on growing with your positive attitude and you'll reach all you want!

lovneeshb
Aug 27
Aug 27

Dear Fahima,

I am so touched by your story and wonder why women have to still fight for basic rights like education. I am sure it mustn't have been a easy path for you but what you did and your mother did is courageous. I am glad you are on your path to success and be an wonderful example for hundreds of girls.

Mark R
Aug 27
Aug 27

Hi Fahima,
Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. As a father who has daughters, there is nothing that I would not do for them to help them succeed and be happy. You have decided to change the cycle at home and I know in my heart that you will provide even more opportunities to your daughter. Don't ever let anyone extinguish your light as others will see it in you and be inspired to do the same - to make a change and make a difference! Wishing you all the best...

landroff
Aug 27
Aug 27

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story. As a mother to a daughter, I want the same things. Your hope of a better life is something that really resonates with me. It's amazing to see the beautiful effect your mother had on you and how it will impact your future daughter.

Mia Martuscelli
Aug 27
Aug 27

Fatima,

Your story brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. Thank you for sharing and carrying on the example that your mother taught you. I'm grateful to your mother for her love and support of you, as it will continue to carry on for generations.

Mia

gregmetcalf
Aug 27
Aug 27

Fahima, your story is inspirational. I hope you can continue to share more. I love that your story looks deep into the future fearlessly. Education is empowering and it is joyful to hear how you are empowering your daughter for her life ahead, to make a generational leap forward.

PSteele
Aug 27
Aug 27

Dear Fatima,
I found your story so very touching and emotive. I too have a mother that dreamed of a better life for my sister and myself and did everything in her power to encourage us to be bold, to have have courage and tried so very hard to fill our lives as we were growing up with opportunity. My sister and I are now mothers ourselves. We are now "playing it forward" as your mother did to you and I'm sure you will do to your children - empowering our daughters to hope for a better world and opportunity, to be strong in their pursuit of their dreams, of speaking up for what they believe in and to be kind. Thank you for sharing your story.

RobSnow
Aug 27
Aug 27

Hello Fahima, congratulations on your successful studies! That is so wonderful to hear in light of the heartfelt story you tell, and the strong sense of hope you have for your own daughter one day. Thank you!

etay
Aug 27
Aug 27

I have just joined the World Pulse and your illustration truly captured my attention and made me think through deeply. Thanks so much for sharing the journey you have been on.

I would love to have my 6-year old daughter read this to understand the value of education and how it has been taken for granted over this part of the world. The grit and determination in the testing environment you grew up in, just so nice to hear you rising above all.

Thank you so much for sharing this, truly an inspiration and definitely something I want to share to others around.

I wish you and the family all the very best.

Aug 27
Aug 27
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Nabila Abbas
Sep 02
Sep 02

What a powerful voice you have :)

Suchitra Acharjee
yesterday
yesterday

You inspired me.