(Find out more about Najia in her 2010 update.)
What did all of this difficulty teach you?
It taught me that I can not be like other women, shy and unconfident. If something is very difficult I tell myself that I can do this. And so I do it; even if I’m afraid or think I might fail. I decide first, and then I tell myself I can do it. I just pray for guidance and then make a strong decision. Read More
I was born into a middle class family, the youngest of 4 girls. My father died when I was 4. Despite delays from fighting during the Mujahidin period, I graduated from high school and then studied nursing in Jalabad. During the Taliban era, I was able to work with my sister who was a doctor and I spent part of that time working in the village of Allengar as a midwife, and later in Kabul as a pharmacist. After the Taliban left, I began to work as an administrative assistant to the director of World in Need and where I still work. My dream is to become a journalist and also to start my own NGO. We own two houses and my mother is not very young and she’s not educated and not strong and she doesn’t have any husband or boys. Even my sisters weren’t living in Kabul. We have people who rented our house and they wanted to take our house, so I had to be strong to help her.
What did all of this teach you?
It taught me that I can not be like other women, shy and unconfident. If something is very difficult I tell myself that I can do this. And so I do it; even if I’m afraid or think I might fail. I decide first, and then I tell myself I can do it. I just pray for guidance and then make a strong decision.
When someone tells you not to do something and you want to do it, what do you do?
I fight with them. Man or woman, I will fight with them. I will tell them I want to do it, it’s my right and I will do it if it’s a good thing. If it’s bad, I will think about it and I will leave it. But if it’s good, I will fight and I will do it. I fight by discussing it because it’s my right. If it’s good for me I will do it.
When you feel sad and depressed, what do you do to help yourself feel better?
I pray and keep quiet and rest and sleep. It makes me feel better.
After you’re married and have daughters what advice will you give them?
I want her to be strong and educated and be political. She will not be shy or not want to do things and she will be very good to her mother and father. [laughs]
What will you as a mother do to help her be strong?
First, I will not be like a mother, but like a friend. So if she has a problem she can talk with me. So I can teach her how to fight, how to solve her problems. If she can do this in the beginning, in the end she will be very strong.« back to Portraits & Stories list