Warsaw, Poland – I’m still numb from the horrific attack at the Kaaj Educational Center in the Dasht-e-Barchi district of West Kabul, Afghanistan which claimed the lives of dozens of young girls and boys who were practicing university entrance exams. Educational institutions are supposed to be safe spaces where children gain knowledge and skills for their future. These were young Afghans who had hopes and dreams for their future, but their lives were cut short in an act of targeted violence because of their ethnicity.
Human rights, especially women’s rights are in danger, and there has been an increase in violence against minorities in Afghanistan. Many people have been imprisoned, harassed, disappeared, and even killed.
It was a little over a month ago when I was awarded the Stockholm World Peace Award, which I dedicated to Afghan girls who are thirsty for education but are deprived of basic human rights. Problems and difficulties persist in Afghanistan, but the world has to continue to find solutions to problems and work toward upholding peace and human rights for all. Small acts of kindness and support to those who are in need go a long way.
A year ago, I had to leave my country, my friends and family, and my job just to be safe. I arrived in Poland with absolutely nothing, but felt heartened by the support and kindness of the Polish people who welcomed me with open arms when I had nowhere to go. It inspired me to continue working to help my fellow Afghans, and Ukrainian refugees who had to flee their country for safety.
The beauty of Afghanistan is defined by its diversity. Hazara, Pashtun, Uzbek, Tajik and Sikhs all are equal. As an Afghan Pashtun, I feel the grief and pain of my Hazara brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in Afghanistan. I stand in solidarity with our Afghan Hazaras around the world.
Sabur Shah Dawod Zai
Sabur Shah Dawod Zai is the Founder and CEO of Bin Dawod Foundation.