Luxury, Comfort, Happiness, Safety, Security are all adjectives that we aspire for, but do not necessarily get. Being from Afghanistan and living there for most of my life, I have learned this bitter truth. Despite living in the same planet and breathing the same air, we can lead totally different realities, and unfortunately for many Afghans, the reality is a constant struggle for survival. I was fortunate enough to study abroad and reshape the life that was set for me. Today, I have traveled to many countries and seen the different realities that they all lead; however, none of those realities could change my identity. I am an Afghan female that will always be measured with different stereotypes, some more understanding, while others might see me as an opportunist, victim, terrorist, traditional, religious, etc. Different parts of my identity have led to different assumptions about who I am. The truth behind who I am and what I want to do is simple. I am an Afghan girl that has come from disadvantageous background, yes, I am an Afghan woman who is thirsty for opportunity, yes, I am an Afghan woman that loves to challenge her circumstances and not surrender to the destiny that has been set for me by society, yes, I am an Afghan that has big dreams which does not include playing with dolls or waiting for some man to come and save me from my destiny. I like to take matters into my own hands.
I have been extremely lucky to have a supportive father that allowed me to spread my wings and take charge of my future. In a country like Afghanistan where many people, including members of my family, have challenged my father for supporting my dreams just because I am a girl, but he stood to his words and protected my dreams, like the way he wished someone protected his. This opened many doors of opportunity for me, that otherwise would have been impossible. My father made me feel safe to dream, and dream big. Today, if I have the courage to pursue any dream of mine, is all due to the
strong support system that I had in my father. Through his support, I attended university both in Georgetown Qatar and American University in Dubai, finishing my senior year in International Studies. The reason behind why I decided to pursue this major is simple, I wanted to learn more about the intricacies of the world that we live in, and what causes this huge disparity in different parts of the world.
After firsthand witnessing the injustices of the political systems and actors and how many of us are a victim to this system, I realized how much I want to pursue a career in humanitarian law to combat the inequalities that are set as a hindrance in achieving success. My background has played a significant role in shaping me and my decision of returning the favor to the people of my community and those that are suffering like the Afghans back home. Even if I am not currently in Afghanistan, the Afghan diaspora continues to prevail and support the marginalized people of developing countries. I want to return and serve those that have not been as fortunate as I have been. My purpose is to find practical and long-lasting solutions to a problem that has been deeply shaped and rooted by the hierarchical power relations in order to give those that do not have proper representation a fair chance, as it is the least that I can do in bettering this world.
I do not come without experience. I have started laying the foundation for my vision. I have interned with an women support organization called Medica Afghanistan to study cases of disadvantaged women of Afghanistan. I learned and grew first as a woman, then as an Afghan, and finally as a global citizen of the world. I have the maturity, exposure, confidence, intelligence, and most importantly empathy in handling very sensitive and delicate situations, such as in the case of Afghanistan, therefore I would be an asset to the team as I bring fresh and experienced perspective that can be to great advantage to the mission of UNDP in Afghanistan. Opportunities like this, for women like myself, is a stepping-stone to challenge a sexist system that marginalizes women from discussing and presenting an important perspective that would be fruitful in a successful future for Afghanistan.
Author: Hareer Hashim