Farishta was a girl given a second chance – a girl who took that chance and fought to make the very best of it. She shows what any one of the children we work with can achieve. Children in Crisis’ Andreea Mihaila recently met with Farishta (left in the photo above), now 21, to discuss her time with us and the path she has since followed. These are her words:

My memories of my time at your CBEC (Community Based Education Centre) are very happy ones – it was such a friendly place. My favourite subject was Dari, simply because I wanted to learn to read and write as quickly as possible.

Back in Panjshir Province where I was born, from an early age, about seven years-old, I only worked - herding and milking our sheep. It was a really tough life. And then when we fled to Kabul my father needed me to work making bricks or carrying water.

So in Kabul, my brothers were going to school, but not me. But then, things changed. Some of my cousins started to go to one of the CBECs and so my mother started to argue that I should be allowed too. My parents didn’t trust the State schools, but had been told that the CBEC was a good place and so I was allowed to go.

One of our education centres in 2006, when Farishta was studying with us

I was about 11 or 12 but had never been educated. Studying one year at the CBEC unlocked the door for me to go to State school. Now I’ve been through primary school, high school and am now in my second year at university. I’m training to be a midwife and I love it.

Every step has been a fight. I stood my ground and argued to be allowed to go to school and then relied on my father’s uncle to convince him that I should be allowed to go to high school. Even now my brothers try to interfere; a local leader is paying my fees and they don’t like that, they called me just last night telling me to drop out.

But I have a plan. I will work as a midwife, save money and then go back to studying, to become an eye doctor and psychologist. I want to make a better life for myself, and I want to do what you do, I want to help poor people, people who have a clear mind and just need a little help.

After interviewing with Andreea, Farishta stayed at Balako CBEC to give guidance and encouragement to the students there

I’m never shy about the difficulties I’ve had – I go back to the CBECs or Panjshir and teach women and girls about education, about what I’ve been through and how I got through it. In Panjshir I have to be careful about how I do this, but I combine my women’s meetings with Quran discussions, so the community is happy. And I can see that I’ve already changed things in my own family, each of my three younger sisters go to school, because my parents saw with me that everything was fine.

I have shared important parts of my life with you today – I am always happy to talk to you and the CBEC students in the future. Tashakor (thank you).

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Girls, child labourers, or refugees fleeing the Taliban. These are the forgotten children who are being given a second chance to learn at our community schools in Kabul.
Empowering women through education, the opportunity to work and the chance to meet and support one another.