From a Village in Afghanistan to Germany

From a Village in Afghanistan to Germany

Karima’s story is one of hope, determination, and perseverance. Despite all the obstacles she faced back in Afghanistan, she never gave up on her dreams.

Karima is an Afghan woman born in a remote village of Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. In this area, there are no educational opportunities for girls. Furthermore, they are not allowed to attend school. Despite all ups and downs in life, she always imagined herself as independent and successful. She envisioned a bright future and never stopped dreaming. This mindset gave her the courage to face challenges. After arriving in Germany, she finally fulfilled her dreams.

Life in the Village in Afghanistan

She looks at the crowd of school-aged children on their way after school and says: “My childhood life was very different from other children.“ Life in her village had always been filled with many hardships and difficulties. Starting with a bad economic condition, her family struggled with poverty. „I had to work along with my father in the fields and I couldn’t go to school. My only wish was to have a pen and notebook, which didn’t come true then“, Karima explains.

She is well aware, that she is not the only Afghan girl, which grew up like this. Many children growing up in rural, remote places shared her fate. She states: “For women the condition is far way worse and unfavourable. Lack of educational and health centers, social organizations, and a dominant and patriarchal culture were among the factors that made the burden of problems heavier on women.“ The big difference was, that despite all the difficulties she kept her hope alive.

Later Karima adds:

I wanted to become a doctor when I was a child. Since there was no female doctor in our village, many women lost their lives during childbirth, and I mourned deep down because of witnessing this situation. Still, there were so many hurdles and obstacles in front of me that overcoming them seemed idealistic.

When she told stories about the past her eyes got teary from all the memories she had. But there were no tears. She wasn’t crying. They were just the memories, leaking out.

Life Under The ruling of Taliban

Karima spent her childhood and adolescence under the first period of Taliban rule. She recounts the bitter memories from that time. Her painful experiences still haunt her today.. “I remember when the Taliban came to our village, my father’s voice was filled with fear and eyes with despair. He told us that the Taliban said to the community elders that everyone must pay them money if anyone wants to live here. Otherwise, they will kill us, destroy our property and take the daughters,“ she tells. Everyone in the village was terrified.

Even if Karima is not living there anymore, hearing their names refreshed the painful memories. „Taliban and memories of them are like a nightmare haunting me throughout my life.” She sighs and says: “I wish no girls would spend their life with such nightmares.”

Emigration from Afghanistan

When Karima was 21, she married her cousin by her family’s choice. Soon after marriage they left for Iran. Afghanistan was lacking work opportunities, what caused financial problems. In the neighbouring country they searched for a happy and prosperous life. She narrates her life in Iran: “I wanted to work as a hairdresser, but they did not allow me to study and work. We were undocumented and had no legal status in the country.“

So, there was no room for improvement. Sewing and knitting at home were to only opportunities for Karima to keep herself busy. „Even my son was not allowed to attend school because of not having a legal status,“ she says. That‘s why the situation became unbearable for her – once again.

Hope for a better future

In order to build a better future for her children, she and her husband decided to move to one of the European countries. She knew the journey through illegal channels was dangerous and associated with many life risks. But for Karima, this seemed better than staying.

She says:

The journey until we reached Germany was challenging, and we travelled for one month. We had to walk several miles with our small kid. We stayed in the mountains for several nights bearing hunger and thirst, we had nearly nothing to eat, and the weather was unbearable cold.

She looks at her son, sighs sorrowfully, and says:

My son was nine months old and drinking bottled milk. I couldn’t boil water to prepare his milk, so I had to prepare milk for him with cold water. During our getaway, we spent a week in a room of 100 meters with 200 people; we didn’t even have a place to sleep or stretch our legs. We bore all these inconveniences and troubles just in the hope of getting to a peaceful country where we will have opportunities to build a better life. We eventually reached our final destination and our goal.

Living the dream life

When she talks about her life in Germany, suddenly, that sad face turns into a happy face. With a broad smile, she says: “I started everything from scratch here; I went to a language school and obtained my German Language certificate B2. Also, I was able to get a driver’s license. I have decided to pursue an Ausbildung program this year.”

A train passes by, and she looks towards that train with great enthusiasm and says: “I would like to become a train driver in the future.”

In Germany Karima finally feels independent and empowered. „There are no limitations on my way of achieving anything,“ she says. She still remembers, how she needed permissions of her father or brother to do something. „Everything requires a lot of effort and struggle back there; however, you need to aim for something here,” she says.

A new approach

With this approach, Karima found herself. She finds joy in riding bike with her children. Her husband supports her as a friend and encourages her to go her way. He also takes care of the children. She feels happy and blessed, as she found peace in her mind: „I am one step away from achieving my dream life.“ From the first days of arriving in Germany, she noticed the positive changes for her life.

Karima seems lost in deep thought while talking about the village and life there. She continues: “Had I not come to Germany, I would not have accomplished anything; a happy life, a confident, self-sufficient and independent personality.“ In Afghanistan, this seemed impossible, unachievable. For sure, she would still be a housewife, depending on the men around her. „Most importantly, my husband’s viewpoint has drastically changed after coming to this country. Now he is by my side as a friend and supporter,“ she underlines.

She looks around and glances at everyone crossing the street. She recalls her long-term goal. In the future, she wants to do humanitarian and charity work for needy people.

A successful person keeps going and doesn’t get discouraged after every fall. They continue pursuing their goals with more perseverance and determination.

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