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Meet Zahra

11, Mar, 2018

Zahra Zafari

Hometown: Bamyan Province, Afghanistan
Major: Undecided // Class of 2021

Growing up in the mountainous Bamyan Province of Afghanistan, Zahra faced many difficulties pursuing her education. She comes from a middle class family- her father works as a guard, and her mother sells handicrafts at a
small shop in the town where they live. In her community, women are expected to marry after high school and take care of their families. Those who travel outside of Afghanistan, especially in pursuit of education, are seen to be abandoning their culture. “People made our situation so difficult. They think we are bad girls for going to school.”

“Men and women are not equal. Men can do anything in our society. And some of the women, even if they graduate from university face so many difficulties finding work. Men can easily go out and work and study anywhere.”

Despite the negative attitudes in her community, Zahra graduated from high school and moved to Kabul for a year to study English at the NIMA Institute. It was there that she learned of AUW and decided to pursue her higher education. Her parents were supportive of her decision to leave Kabul for AUW, as the capital city was becoming increasingly insecure and they were worried for her safety.

Now at AUW, Zahra has a safe place to continue her education, learn about other cultures and develop her own path for the future. She participates in the Volleyball Club and takes guitar lessons.

“I came here to improve my knowledge and empowerment. My ambitions here are to graduate and become a strong person, to become a powerful woman and show these people- who think that women can’t do anything and belong in the house- show them that this is not reality. After graduating AUW it is my goal to go to my village and work to
support women and help them find work in society.”

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