I am Habiba Haidari but my friends call me Habiba Sarabi because the former governor of Bamyan was Habiba Sarabi – the first female governor in the history of Afghanistan. I used to live in the Saighan district of Bamyan when I was a child.
There were many challenges in Saighan. There were few schools operating and only boys could attend them. Girls were not allowed to attend any schools. My desire was to go to school to study and learn, but it seemed impossible.
The economic condition of my family was not good at the time. My father was a policeman but was wounded in the war defending the country. As a result of his injuries, he can no longer work. He is a creative man but there were no opportunities available to him. My brother had to find a job to support our family. He was only 14-years-old and in the 7th grade at school. After a while, we moved to the center of Bamyan because of better security. Living in a new place had its own difficulties, but things seemed normal – like we belonged here – after only a few months.
When my family moved to Bamyan Center I was six and was allowed to start school. I am 17-years-old and in 11th grade now. Going to school was one of my biggest dreams. I continue my school with big desires. My life started changing when we moved to Bamyan and got better day-by-day.
Learning English was another important goal in my life. I had been looking for a way to fulfill this goal when I found the ROYA Mentorship Program in Bamyan. There was an announcement at my school about ROYA. The headmaster of my school encouraged me to enroll in ROYA. I did not know a lot about ROYA at first.
When I enrolled in ROYA, I found that ROYA is like a family – a family where every single member feels close to each other, where there is prosperity and there is mutual respect and understanding. I am so very happy to be a ROYA member. ROYA has opened many doors for a lot of people around the world. Thank you Mrs. Kara Lozier, my generous sponsor, Jasmin, and Asif Sultani for making this opportunity possible for me.
Republished from Pioneer English Center’s August 2018 newspaper.