"I am a child of war" - a young Afghan woman shares her story of war and hope

A group of children who worked with the Afghan Peace Volunteers
A group of children who worked with the Afghan Peace Volunteers
Efat Abulfazil


Efat Abulfazil is a young peace worker from Afghanistan. She grew up during the war time in her country. She is deeply concerned about the post-war situation of her communities. She is currently studying psychology in HSE University, Moscow. After finishing her studies, she wants to work for peace and nonviolence. She is a member of Afghan Peace Volunteer- a group of mainly young people that promotes peace, nonviolence and local solutions for healing and rebuilding communities and humane values. She is also a member of Asia Peace Network- a recent WRI initiative. Here, she shares her firsthand experience of war and hope for peace in Afghanistan.

My name is Efat Abulfazil, I am an Afghan girl. I am from the land where it was the home of mighty poets and writers Jalal ad-Din Mohammad Rumi, Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi and Rabia Balkhi, I am from the land where the buddha rested, I am from the land where the knowledge and culture were in the heart of this land, and I am from the land where the Rabab played without restriction in the mountains of Hindu Kush and the children danced and played. Where the girl could acquire knowledge and education and going to school wasn't a dream but now the war and illiteracy change the stories in my land. The peace and knowledge have the power which can stop the war but now in Afghanistan both are condemned to oblivion and freedom in the cage of weapons and guns.

In my 20 years of life, I have grown up in Kabul but I was born a refugee far from my motherland and after 22 years my family was forced to flee again as refugee from our motherland where we called it home. Now I am studying psychology in Moscow HSE university but where should I travel for my summer break, when all of the other students will be going home to see their families? This could be the story of each and every immigrant who has been forced to flee.

I can see the light of hope that can guide us to days without war, without weapons, where we can be safe and peaceful. When I was 18 years old, I joined the Peace Volunteers, an organization that assisted street kids in learning to read and write, as well as providing opportunities for young people to meet and connect with psychologists. At that time I realised we need people who, like psychologists, can help us to come out from this nightmare. People in my country have been living through decades of civil conflict, and I do not want generations to go through the same anguish and misery as our predecessors.

Most Afghans are unaware of psychology and are unaware that it may play a significant role in their lives and its benefits. Psychology has the ability to contribute to stopping many years of war, which is why I want to study it.

I want to become a psychologist who can help those that have been involved in war. I am a child of war, and I do not want even one person to experience the situation that we experienced through war, I do not want any child to be born as a refugee. I want to work and serve and find ways to help the children not only in the streets of Afghanistan but in factories and streets in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Yemen and Nigeria, and all over the world. To have the chance to have the dreams that war and poverty take away from them, to have chance to go to school and study, to have a place to sleep and have food to eat and have a chance to live like other children in our only home in the galaxy. It is painful that in 2023, in the 21st century, millions of children are still involved in child labour. However, we can start from now, today, to stand against war, poverty and conflict, for a better and peaceful tomorrow.

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