Hope Is Gone

By Mohammad Zaki Zaki

An Afghan classroom from a decade ago

On a Wednesday, I went to the educational center where I work in the morning and taught my classes then went home to have lunch. Later, I went back to the center to teach my afternoon classes. I had asked my students from my first class to come at 1 pm instead of 1:30 so we could have a discussion. The students often met early and wanted me to be there too. This class was around 20 girls and 7 boys.

When I arrived at the center, most of my female students had already arrived and were waiting in the office. They were very interested in speaking. We were about to begin when the manager arrived and asked me to gather all the female students into a classroom so I could talk to them about their days off. I didn’t know about any of this, so I stayed in the office and the manager went with them into the classroom. A few minutes later, the girls all started to leave very slowly. Some stumbled, everyone looked depressed and disappointed. Some were crying, some were shouting and cursing the Taliban. Some were just saying goodbye to their friends. Many looked at the center for several moments as if it would be the last time they would see it.

One female student came to me and asked me not to teach the male students so that the young women would not fall so far behind. I felt like crying and so did many other instructors. But I didn’t know how to help them.

After the doors of the universities and educational centers were closed to women and girls, I check my messages more often. Many of my female students send me messages asking about opening the doors of the schools for them, but I think there is no hope for them now. I just ask them to keep studying at home, so they don’t get too far behind in their lessons. But they say there is no hope for them.

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Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart

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Afghan Voices

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart