What things helped you get through your difficult times?
“The first thing was my skill since I can sew by hand and I know some handicraft. Also, I go to the shrine and pray.” Read More
I grew up in a Hazara village near Bamyan, but my father moved our family to Kabul so he could find work as a laborer. I got married at 20 to a "good but poor" man. I was forced to sell all of my marriage gold to pay off his debts. (According to Islam, this gold is hers by right.) Soon after the debts were paid, he was killed by a land mine. I have 3 small children, one of whom has an obstructed bladder from the same land mine accident. I work cleaning people's houses. Now I am in my second month of literacy training at the Church World Service Center.
How do you like living in the village vs. Kabul?
In the village it is impossible for widows to earn a living. In Kabul I can work. I can live free in Kabul. In the village, people said bad things about me because I lived alone. I have family there, but they couldn't feed me and there also wasn't space for me to live with them.
What things helped you get through difficult times?
The first thing was my skill since I can sew by hand since I know some handicraft. Also, I go to the shrine and pray and I go cry on my husband's grave. I cry all the time.
What advice will you give your daughter when she's older?
I will advise her to get educated and study hard in school and learn some skill because it will help her in difficult times.
When you were little did you look forward to wearing a burka?
Yes, I liked it and I wear it now, too. I like to wear it…. [after some discussion with the translator] …I don't like it really, but I'm used to it. I feel ashamed if I don't wear it. It is hijab. (Islamic covering) I feel ashamed to walk without it. I like it because it is good in Islam, it covers my body and people can't see me and men can't see me. And I like it. I'm used to it.
What part of Islam has helped you the most?
Prayer. Everything in Islam helps me a lot, but prayer, going to the shrine, and my belief in God. « back to Portraits & Stories list