January 12th, 2014
Aysha contacted me asking if I would edit her story about how she helped her classmates with some of psychological issues.
Aysha is an example of the younger generation in Afghanistan who are eager to improve themselves and rebuild their country. Aysha’s story is interesting because she shares her thought process as her seven-day project unfolds. Please leave comments for her below.
And now, I introduce Aysha…
Salaam Alikom means peace be with you.
We Muslims say this so that the person we are talking should know that he/she is safe with us and we mean no harm for them..
My name is Aysha Mirbacha and I study in Al-Fatha High School class 11. I live in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. My first day in Al-Fatha high school was in the year 2008. I didn’t have any friends, but at that time I did not lose myself mentally. I would just go to study and come back home. As time passed I found many friends, and they would talk with me and meet me, but one day I recognized that they never said that I was happy. In fact, they said it seems like I feel pain and am unhappy.
I thought: please kill me, my life means nothing. I started thinking why, that’s not normal. They helped by talking and sharing feelings. I start to think positively, but I knew that was not going to help. They should start thinking positively too.
MY SEVEN DAYS
Ever since I was younger, I learned and heard one thing: Be like a girl, don’t go out, don’t talk to strangers, you don’t need friends.
But then I said to myself “there is a better world, and if I know that then others should also”. I was thinking of what to do, how to help, and then I learned about depression on online websites and gathered answers to all my questions. In school, I talked to my teachers and one of my classmates. I started researching, and I wanted to show them that what are they doing and thinking is making their problems worse.
I had 7 days only because our exams were in 25 days.
I was thinking that I can’t do this alone. I need help.
One of my classmates, Shayesta, came and asked me, “Aysha what is the problem? Can I help you with it?” I invited her to join me, and she said “yes I would love to”. She made me very happy. Shayesta said, “keep on with your research and I will see what I can do.”
I said to Shayesta: “This is too much pressure on me in 7 days. I can’t do this.”
She said to me: “Aysha, stress doesn’t solve anything.” I had my computer and Shayesta told me we can do this. I will find answers for the stress problems from the side of Islam because we all are Monotheists and we believe in one God. I will search using that strength and you should search from science to see what science can prove.
I told Shayeata that she solved all my problems once we both were alone.
No one was there to help us but we didn’t lose hope. We worked together and talked to our teachers and classmates – people I knew or even those I didn’t.
I was worried and I said to Shayesta: “what if the principal doesn’t accept our project?”
She said, “Aysha we aren’t doing anything bad, we are helping. They won’t say ‘no’ to us. They will give us a chance, don’t worry at all.”
We were working on our research and thinking how to sort it better. I was in my computer lab since bringing computers to school is not allowed by my teacher.
She asked me: “what’s in your hand Aysha?” I said it was a computer and that we are working on a project about Afghan girls’ stress. I suddenly said that students have family and environment problems which prevent them from studying.
The teacher said that it sounded like a very good project. The teacher asked how she can help, and we were a little shocked!
She then said that we should give a conference about it and she would find a projector for us to use.
Sayesta and I were amazed.
We had 3 days only. Time was passing so fast, and I found out how precious time is. We were working and praying that Allah may help us. But we faced a huge problem to meet the deadline.
Shayesta told me she wished we hadn’t done this at all and she didn’t think we can do it. I said yes we can. If you and I started this, we will finish it. I wasn’t sure about it and tears came out. I wiped them fast so she would not understand my doubts.
We decided to make question sheets so by writing we can see our problems. We decided that this Friday we would stay home and make our questions and then print them. Shayesta said to forget about it, we are not even ready for our conference. I told her to leave this responsibility to me.
I was at home with my family helping my mom and sisters and brother with daily work, and during the evening I had time to work on my question sheets. I completed my writing and I practiced for my conference. Everything was going well until morning sunrise when I went to school. I was so tired. When I met with Shayesta she told me she wasn’t coming tomorrow since she had to work at home. I couldn’t do or say anything because it’s her family, and she may have personal problems.
I told her to be here on Monday for sure, but today we will practice. We went to the principal’s office we told her everything about our project. She was very happy. The principal also gave me a movie. She told me I should watch this and that I will find many answer since the movie was about the secret of happiness.
Then, we used our school printer for copies of the question sheets, but we weren’t allowed to print all we needed. We asked permission for the conference in school and it was granted so we were very happy. I felt like I was flying. We both were running and went to class when one of our teachers called and said she wanted to help us with this work. She led us to our school library to make 100 copies of the sheets, and believe it or not, I have been studying for four years and it was my first time in the school library.
She copied the question sheets for us, and Shayesta told me that our problems are getting solved.
Tomorrow was the big day for me and Shayesta, and we were definitely ready.
Everyone wished us the best of luck including my teachers and classmates. We took the hall key and went to assemble the chairs, fans and I checked the mic. It was working well but the projector was not working. We tried our best but it still didn’t work. Some of my classmates came and we checked all the wires, but they were all broken. I asked for help to re-join them and then the projector worked. It was unbelievable!
When everything was ready for tomorrow, Shayesta told me best of luck tomorrow is our day.
I just smiled and walk away to class.
Finally, it was the day we had been waiting for.
We both went to the principal’s office for the key, but the principal suddenly said that we were not allowed to go in the hall and give our conference! We were both shocked I asked why she didn’t tell us before.
We had worked hard on this project. This is not fair! Shayesta and I both were about to cry. We thought everything was done. When I turned my head, I saw my teachers and I ran to them but when they talked to the principal she didn’t change her mind. Shayesta said we are wasting time.
Walking in the stairs, I saw my teacher that had helped in the library and I rushed to her and told her everything. She went to the office and gave us the key. All my classmates came to help me and Shaesta went to call the students from other classes. Some went to ask teachers to come. So the conference got started.
At the start the announcer started her talk about our title and why are we giving this conference. Students and teachers liked the title and they said it was helpful. After the announcer and Shayesta finished, I started my speech. I was a little shy and scared because it was in front of hundreds of students and teachers. I start to wipe my sweat.
But at the end, everyone stood up and clapped for us. The feeling was perfect. After that many students came and asked me for help. When I finished Shayesta and I were surrounded by many students. I didn’t understand what they were doing and Sonam, the announcer, said they want help from me. My classmates came and asked questions one by one.
They said they felt like they were born again with a new life, happiness, love and everything beautiful in this world.
After 3 days, we were still working to help students who wanted to talk to the principal. The office called us to say we would be rewarded with a certificate. Shaysta, Sonam and I were very happy. I was proud to be me. I felt good and peaceful to help others girls around my school environment and I am looking forward to helping them more