the gift that lasts forever

Khadija’s story

It was at 10:30 in the morning when the terrified teachers entered our classroom and ordered us to leave the school quickly to go home.  On August 15, 2021, my life and millions of other Afghans changed, and Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban returned to the Middle Ages.

I am Khadijah, a student in grade 11 of the school. I was born 19 years ago in one of the remote villages of Kunduz province. Many years ago, my family came from the remote village to the center of Kunduz city to find work, this provided an opportunity for me and my two sisters to enter school. 

Four years ago, I entered an AFCECO orphanage. It was a different place. Many girls from different regions of Afghanistan were studying in this orphanage. The orphanage officials had prepared a completely academic environment for the girls. There, I got to know different arts and valuable books that had a deep impact on my life. While teaching art and life skills, we learned about children’s rights, women’s rights, human rights, mutual respect, mutual acceptance, humanity, …in early September 2021, AFCECO created a number of safe houses in Kabul, and I was immediately accepted into one of them.

My first attempt is to be able to survive in order to depict the visions and sufferings of Afghan women in my paintings in the future. I want to live for bringing the message and dreams of a 19-year-old girl and her contemporaries to the people of the world who survived the war, poverty, and problems and fought for their rights. When I wake up in the morning, I repeat this sentence: I am too tough for the pressure of the Taliban to destroy me!