Under the rule of the Taliban, Afghanistan went through a tremendous change. The Taliban had immense impact on the society as they gained more power. With the regulations that were established, numerous people felt the aftermath in their daily lives. Afghan women were stripped of their rights. Regions that were under Taliban control forbade women from seeking an education and working in certain fields of work.
On our visit to CIEE to attend the Justice for Women Lecture, Waynflete students from the Girls Leadership Training Group, faculty advisors Lindsay Kaplan and Lydia Maier, alum Desiree Lester ’03, and I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Sima Samar, an Afghani women and human rights activist. Dr. Samar assembled the first human rights commission in Afghanistan and is the chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Dr. Samar spoke about the establishments that she has created, programs that she partakes in, and her hopes for Afghanistan. She works towards creating a better future for the Afghan people, especially by spreading human rights laws. She spoke about her belief that each human has fundamental rights, and she hopes her works assist the Afghan people in achieving them. Dr. Samar has already established successful schools and clinics through the Shuhada Organization, and she is hoping to create even more. She realizes Afghanistan has a long ways to go to, but believes that it is now taking the steps to rebuild itself.
During the lunch, the discussion was open to everyone. We discussed the importance of having role models who illustrate fine qualities. The students from both Waynflete and Deering High School were given the opportunity to speak briefly about our own struggles and about the role models we look up to. People from around the world face hardships and are helped by the people to whom they look up. However, for some it is difficult to find a role model who embodies respectable qualities.
What I took from this incredible experience was to appreciate the opportunities that I have received in my life and to stretch out my hand to the community at large. To change the world, we must help the youth. For there to be any change, youth must be presented with positive role models. Large scale projects are not the only ones that can bring change to the world; the little activities that we partake in contribute to change as well. With simple works, we can bring change to this world, so we should strive to think of small projects that we can take on.