It has been 53 years since my life began. After spending 25 of those years in marriage, I made the decision to pursue my education. My schooling had been cut short when I was in the 7th grade due to the deteriorating conditions of the country and the fact that I was too young. My family held relatively conservative views and forced me to drop out, and shortly after leaving school, I was given away in marriage by my father. Despite my desire to continue my education, my family’s traditional and religious beliefs prioritized a girl’s marriage over her education. As a result, after my marriage, I was unable to continue my studies, despite dreaming of becoming an independent, knowledgeable woman and forging my own path. Unfortunately, my husband shared my family’s conservative views and did not allow me to attend school at that time.
I faced many hardships throughout the years after marriage, particularly during the time when my husband was jobless and refused to take responsibility. Despite this, we were blessed with six children – three boys and three girls. However, life became even more challenging after their birth. With eight people in the house and no source of income, we were getting poorer day by day. My husband’s addiction to gambling made our situation even worse. He squandered the only house we had in the gambling. It was a devastating blow that left us feeling more helpless than ever before.
Life was tough and full of challenges during the years when my children were growing up. My husband paid no attention to us and it felt like we were living separate lives. It was up to me to provide my children with a better life, and I knew that I needed to find a solution to improve our circumstances. Despite my age, I made the decision to return to my studies and continue my education from where I had left off. I was aware that pursuing my education would open up new career opportunities and pave the way for a better life for my family and me.
At the age of 44, I returned to school and resume my studies from the 9th grade at Fatima Balkhi High School in Balkh Province. Despite facing numerous challenges, I persevered for three years and eventually graduated with top honors. My time at school was marked by many positive memories, particularly the friendship, kindness, and support of my fellow students, who were all much younger than me. Despite facing various challenges and opposition from my husband at times, I refused to be deterred and pushed forward to reach my goal of completing my secondary education.
I had reached the point where I was ready to pursue my bachelor’s degree. However, when I attempted to register for the Kankor exam, I was informed by the Ministry of Education officials that I was not permitted to take the exam. It was a republican government at the time, and the government had imposed restrictions on adult participation in the Kankor exam and university admissions. Because I was 47 years old, I was deemed too old to take the exam. Although I was disheartened by this news, I was determined to keep trying. I constantly reminded myself that obtaining my degree and finding a job was crucial. Giving up was not an option, so I resolved to keep striving toward my goal.
My family’s financial situation was dire, and we were struggling to make ends meet. On one hand, we had to cover our daily expenses, while on the other hand, I needed money to continue my studies. Since I couldn’t apply to a public university, I had no choice but to attend a private one. However, I knew that private universities would be expensive, and I had to pay the tuition fee every semester. Therefore, I decided to take a two-year break to save money for my studies. During this period, I worked tirelessly as a tailor, sewing clothes day and night. With the money I earned, I was able to both support my family and save for my studies.
Two years later, I managed to scrape together enough money for three semesters and enrolled in midwifery school. My university studies went smoothly and I even found a job after completing the second semester. As I improved my skills, a renowned midwife in the city employed me as her assistant. Together, we performed exams, delivered babies, and provided treatment. Life was much better than before.
I graduated from university two years ago. Last year, I opened my own examination room. I am thrilled that I have been able to achieve my dreams and help people at the same time. It brings me great joy to serve my fellow women and their babies in the obstetrics and gynecology department. I typically see six patients a day and provide free treatment for those who can not afford it, as well as discounts for those in dire financial straits.