Our life was comfortable, not only ours, anyone that was a teacher, a doctor. We had a government. We had a proper country and proper government. We had proper education, boys and girls could go to school. I had an independent life, I wanted that always. That is what all Afghan females and men want.

We had women politicians, business women, doctors, NGOs. Women were working too and Afghanistan was improving.

No one would think or dream this was going happen and Afghanistan would go backwards. Even there were whispers that the Taliban were coming, people were like no way. All countries have invested so much, they are not just going to leave and go away.

We left on a military plane, a big one. I wanted to look out. I thought maybe it is my last time seeing Afghanistan so let me see it. I had the feeling that it might be the last time, who knows.

Everyone was sad, everyone crying, my brothers sad and looking down. That was the last time I saw Afghanistan.

They took us to a hotel. We were there for ten days and then we came to here and it has been a long time. We left our house, our jobs, our studies. Being here is like being a newborn baby. All I have is a bag of clothes and all the memories.

When I first came here to the hotel, I just wanted to be away from everyone and cry. The trauma felt bad. But I had to be an educated girl with a dream, I cannot sit forever and cry. I tell myself, now you are here, find what is happening as an opportunity and carry on your life.

I put all the goals I had before, I have put them away and made new goals. My dream of being a businesswoman is dead now, I have to help people from my country. I will fight for them, especially for young girls who are suffering more now in Afghanistan.

It is not easy to recover from all the things that have happened. But these people here working at the hotel are amazing, they are helping me to recover faster, I will never forget these people. They help me carry on in hard days.

When we came here, Refugee Council were so helpful and very friendly. They have listened and taken action for us. They have been so good. It helps us even with our personal stuff. They have tried to find us answers for things. Even with my university things, they have helped me with the forms. Always they ask me, do I have a problem, how can we help, they are amazing people.


Photo: 2021.11 Times Christmas Appeal, Andrew McCaren for The Sunday Times

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