Two Trees: Examples of artwork and text

Deborah Klein and Majabeen
Deborah Klein and Majabeen

I am Majabeen a student of this course

I was a child with a lot of interests in learning and education but unfortunately I did not have a family to allow me to study. My father used to say (sarcastically) "What is a girl good for? And what good could be her education! I will never let my daughters go to school, just the Qur‘an." Until one day a man came and asked my mother to allow us to go to school and I insisted as well and told him my name (to register me for school). When my father learnt about it, he became angry at me and the next time the man came to take me to school, my father told him "How much do you want, to leave us alone?" My father was rich and he gave some money and some livestock to that man and told him never to return. That man went and never came back. I was left an illiterate with my childhood interests for education.

I grew up and got married and came to Kabul, got children and tried hard to get them an education. Life went on and at certain moments in life I strongly felt the need to have been literate, meaning I could hardly figure out the difference between a pharmacy and a clothing shop. My children became educated, my two sons graduated from university, one of my daughters is studying in university and the others are also studying in different grades. I was the only one left illiterate at home, and now I am doing this literacy course run specifically for people like me, and with the help of God and hard working teachers I have changed a lot from the past and can solve some of my problems myself.

I should say that students are very happy with their teachers because they work hard with a lot of patience, and I thank the people who run this literacy course and guide the oppressed women of Afghanistan from darkness to light and ask for their support in this area.

Majabeen daughter of Daulat Khan, a student of this course
I hope my story has not been boring. Thanks

Gali Weiss and Fatima

I am an unmarried woman living with my brother. My brother has no children and cannot go overseas for treatment. From poverty he went to Iran. In Iran he did very difficult jobs until one day a big block of stone collapsed on his leg and he became disabled. At the moment he cannot work, apart from one place at night time and that's it. I don't know any work either to help my brother. Now I want to learn a skill to be able to fulfil some needs of my brother's family.

Thanks you for your help.
Respectfully, Fatima

Rosalind Atkins, no Afghan name

in the OPAWC sewing class

A young girl was lost in gambling, by her mother, to an elderly man. In compensation for her mother's loss, she was forcibly married to him. Right from the beginning of their marriage, they were financially weak and her husband was a drug addict. Within four years, she gave birth to two children. They ended up selling all their assets and when left with nothing at home, he expected her to work as a prostitute and bring him money. He started beating her up, to the point where she could no longer tolerate it and thus ran away from home. She went to her mother's home but was, however, turned away in fear of dishonouring the family's name. Left with no hope, she started begging during the day and sleeping in a public bathhouse at night. When people inquired, she would pretend to be the bath keeper. She found refuge at a woman's house, who then, after a period of time, forced her into prostitution. In the end, she was arrested by the district authorities and surrendered to the provincial department of Kabul. After spending a year behind bars she was given refuge at my house. There was an attempt to notify her mother of her release and a request for her acceptance, nevertheless, the offer was turned down and her husband, too, divorced her. She was feeling despair for a long period of time, although, now she is married to another man and is living a good life. She is participating in the sewing course initiated by OPAWC so she can learn stitching. She is very happy!

Ann Riggs and Morsal

Name: Morsal daughter of Aminullah, student of grade three (B) of OPAWC centre

When there is peace education and work are done better. National unity brings peace and prosperity. All human beings have equal rights. Work and employment brings progress in a society. Work makes men healthy. Work has a lot of benefits for men. Working with machine is easier; by working money is earned.

Leather is made of animal‘s skin. Human beings have used leather to make various clothing items such as shoes, dresses, belts, gloves etc to make for their needs. Gloves are used in the cold weather.

This woman is a tailor. Tailoring is a good profession. She earns money from tailoring. Working with machine is easy. Tailoring has good income. She is a tasteful tailor. Tailored items should be kept clean.

Christine Willcocks and Nazifa

Education is everything.

Education is a torch, education is the light of life.
Education is the beauty, education is the elegance of life.
Ignorance in life is always pain and sorrow;
Education is pleasure and joy of life.
Education shows you what is legal and illegal,
Education is the guide and instructor for life.
Let's learn it from the core ouf our heart.
Education is a need of life.

Let's all love education,
If education dies, life will not survive.
Save us from the ignorance of life.

Name: Nazifa
Father's name: M. Hassan
1st grade OPAWC student

You were awake all nights, my mother
You cradled me till the afternoon, my mother
You sang me a lullaby until I fell asleep, my mother
You sang me a lullaby and rocked me so softly, my mother
You always observed and cared for me, my mother
You fully prepared me while I was going to school, my mother
You did not eat or sleep, my mother
You took care of my health, my mother
While I felt ill or restless.

Nazifa Bahar, 1st grade OPAWC LEarning Centre student