Amina's Story

Despite a ban on education, Amina dares to teach women in Afghanistan.

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My name is Amina

I dare to stand up for women's rights

When the de facto authorities came to power, everything changed. All of the freedoms women in Afghanistan once enjoyed, were completely erased, with little to show for the life I once knew. Still, many women are pushing back against the bans against our rights every day.  

I am one of them.  

When the de facto government took away our right to education, they did not take away the knowledge I already had from years of teaching women, reading and trying to learn as much as possible, nor did they take away women’s passion for education. For this reason, I dare to share my knowledge with the women in my community as a teacher at Women for Women International.  

My desire to educate women while the de facto government is in power comes with many risks. Failure to abide by the law means we and our loved ones face many risks. Sometimes, the men in our families are questioned or beaten by the authorities for failure to “control” us women. Members of the de facto government lurk around the streets with large machine guns, enforcing their rules and maintaining their authority over us. Yet, despite the risk I face, I am compelled to teach women because I believe that every woman should have the right to learn and expand her knowledge.  

Yes, I’m scared. Every morning when I leave the house, I don’t know if I will return. But I don’t want fear to rule me. If educated women like me don’t transfer their knowledge and skills, then what hope is left for vulnerable women who have even fewer opportunities?

But everything makes sense when I see the transformation of the women who join our 12-month programme. At first, they’re too shy to make eye contact. By as early as the second month, they have gained confidence and started to form connections with one another. Within four or five months, equipped with the monthly stipend and vocational and business skills they learn, they start coming up with ways to earn an income. Witnessing women realising their power is what gives me the strength to keep going. 

I will continue to teach because it creates hope for the women who are my students. We are connected by the pain of our everyday life. As darkness surrounds women here in Afghanistan, this is the hope we hold on to each and every day, and I am proud to be part of the reason many of us find the strength to keep going despite the daily challenges we face.  

To other women losing their freedoms and going through hardship, I advise them to keep going. Soon, we will see the light after all of this darkness that has invaded our lives. 

Although the story is real, for reasons of security and privacy, we're not using Amina's real name or photograph.



Women’s rights are under attack across the world, whether it’s our right to speak up against injustice, choose what to wear, or decide what happens to our bodies. 

But women dare to challenge oppression with acts of defiance — even in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances. 

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