The Taliban prevented me from pursuing my studies in Dubai - V-Day
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The Taliban prevented me from pursuing my studies in Dubai

The Taliban prevented me from pursuing my studies in Dubai

Samia, (not her real name) in her 20s, with tearful eyes, reflects on how her life drastically changed two years ago. She comes from a family where her mother used to work for an NGO, and her father was employed at a bank. At that time, she was pursuing a career in journalism while her sister was in her third year of medical school, and her younger brother attended school.

Two years ago, their lives took a distressing turn when women were prohibited from working, leading to their mother losing her job. Samia and her sister were also banned from continuing their studies at the university.

Now, they spend their days and nights at home, grappling with shattered dreams and an uncertain future. The impact of these changes has been profound, particularly on her sister, who has fallen into a deep depression. Samia’s mother sought medical help for her, and she is now taking antidepressant medication. It’s heartwrenching to see her sister struggle, especially since she had always aspired to become a doctor, a dream they had shared and played games about since childhood. She says:

“My mother was determined to find a way forward. Eventually, she learned about a scholarship opportunity for me to study at the University of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), graciously provided by Emirati billionaire businessman Sheikh Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor. These scholarships were specifically offered to Afghan women in response to the Taliban’s ban on women attending university. My mother was overjoyed when she learned about this opportunity and urged us to apply. I eagerly submitted my application and was elated when I was awarded the scholarship. I couldn’t contain my excitement; it felt like I was ready to take flight towards my dreams. However, the cruel twist of fate struck once more when we arrived at the airport. The Taliban authorities did not permit us to leave the country, denying us the opportunity to study abroad. It was a devastating blow. We were left feeling utterly helpless and defeated. My mother’s blood pressure skyrocketed, and she wept bitterly, unable to bear the heartbreak of witnessing her child being denied such a fundamental right to education. Now, approximately 100 girls like me find themselves back at home, facing uncertain and bleak futures.