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Tahmina's blog series “In Their Own Words” features stories from the everyday people who are still living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Names have been changed or redacted for security, and the views expressed in these pieces are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Tahmina Tea.   

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I am Masuma from Afghanistan. I am 17 years old and I am from ______ district in ______ province. I was born in Iran because of the war and poverty in Afghanistan. When I was one years old, my family decided to move back to Afghanistan. Life in Afghanistan was very difficult, the economic condition of our family was not good. My father has always been a hard worker to support our family. He does freelance work and would travel back and forth to Iran and Afghanistan to earn money. Whatever jobs were available he would learn the necessary skills.

My mother is illiterate and she became a local artisan. She works long hours creating and selling her handiwork. My mother also taught me how to make my own handicraft and I enjoy making clothing, crafts, and artwork during my free time. I also sell my own handicraft alongside my mother. I am so grateful my parents showed me what hard work looks like. I have learned a lot from their sacrifice for our family. Because of their sacrifice, I have had many opportunities. I was able to go to school, join an international girls Taekwondo team, and dream of a bright future. 

Before the Taliban came, I was a peace building activist and worked hard for children's rights and education. I was also part of the Young Emerging Leaders program that focused on helping the youth of Afghanistan. I joined these programs because I want to be a voice of change for Afghanistan. I believe that Afghanistan has a bright future if we come together and work towards peace. One of my goals is to be a journalist. I passed the entrance exam at Kabul University and was accepted into the journalism faculty. However, since the Taliban entered Kabul I have not been able to pursue my dreams of being a journalist and continue Taekwondo training. Schools and gyms are closed and I have been forced to stay home and not continue my education. 

Life under Taliban rule has affected my family and everyone around me. We have not been able to take out any money from the bank for the past three months. My parents are using the money we have saved in the house for the past couple of years to feed us and pay for our bills. We have not been able to work since the Taliban entered Kabul. Currently, the weather is very cold and wood is very expensive to buy. I know of people who are selling their daughters to earn money and it breaks my heart.

In the end I will never give up, even though today is hard and tomorrow may be harder, I dream of better days. I want a bright future for myself. I want the world to see what is happening in Afghanistan and to not be silent. There are so many girls in need of help. I am only one voice but we need many voices to come together and help create a bright future for my nation.

 

-Masuma

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