Every now and then we receive a truly inspirational story that exemplifies the effect that AIL can have on the lives Afghan refugees. The following is one such story that we found very moving and would like to share with you.
My name is Fauzia and I am a 22-year old female originally from Kabul. 17 years ago my family came to Pakistan. I was 5 and the right age to begin attending school, but because of my family’s unfortunate situation I wasn’t able to go. Neither were my brother or sister. At that time, we lived in a refugee camp, which has since been destroyed. We then moved into an old house near by.
My father was very poor, and had a heart problem. We went to a doctor at the free hospital and my father was given lots of medicine, but it did not help. Day by day, my father became more ill. Finally, after four years my father died.
My mother was an illiterate woman. She did her best, finding homes of Pakistani and Afghan people to work in. She washed clothes and dishes, and cleaned houses. At this time my siblings and I were 7, 5, and 1 years old. When my mother went to work, we stayed home with my sick father and once he passed away, we were locked in the home. Day by day, we grew older, but we never knew what school was. What is education? What is knowledge?
After many years, we began to notice many children going to school, and I asked my mother where these children in special clothing, with special bags were going. She told me there were going to school to learn. I asked why didn’t we go to school and my mother told me that school was not for poor people, only the rich. The rich have money, and without money no one can go to school. I accepted what my mother told me as the truth.
I began working with my mother cleaning houses, and two years ago I became engaged. One day my fiancée asked me why I didn’t ever go to school. I told him it was because school is not for poor people. My fiancée told me that school is for everyone. It’s for boys and girls to get knowledge. I thought it was too late for my brothers and sisters and I to go, but my fiancée helped us. He knew about an AIL center and spoke with my mother to get permission my sisters and I to attend glasses.
We went to the center and joined the literacy and sewing classes. We learned so many new things. In literacy class we learned to read and write. In sewing we learned cutting and sewing. Because of our classes, we are now able to solve our many problems.
I got married, and I am very happy with my in-laws. My sisters attend courses and the center, and now they sew clothing for money so my mother does not have to work cleaning homes. I am so thankful to AIL for all of the positive changes their classes have brought to my family’s life. We always pray for AIL and for Dr. Sakena Yacoobi.