Ahmad Rahimi

AhmadMy name is Ahmad. My family lived in Farah province, close to Iran and on a drug trade route. Our lives have always been miserably poor. When I was seven years old and my older brother was ten my father began to show signs of dementia. He took to drugs and started beating our mother. Eventually he disappeared completely. He never returned, and we do not know whether he is alive or not. Our mother found herself in a tremendously difficult position with us. She could not even re-marry and had no way to take care of us. My brother Ali and I took to working in the streets, pulling in some bread here, a few Afghanis there. My mother began to experience blackouts and considered suicide. She watched other boys go off to war with the Taliban, getting a salary of a hundred dollars a month. Desperate to keep us out of the war she went to Kabul to join AFCECO's first orphanage. She worked hard for our keep, assisted by my elder brother, and was one of the women who held that first fledging orphanage together. Today she is the head house mother of the New Mehan Orphanage.

I had no schooling when I arrived at the orphanage at nine years of age. But I applied myself hard and could jump immediately from grade one to grade two. I finished high school last year.

Ahmad wants to study law at the Gharjistan Institute of Higher Education. He is bright and intelligent; the Taliban would have loved to recruit him.

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