Azada’s Story

Azada is a social activist. She is courageous, is not afraid to stand up against those who are hypocritical and is a woman who has chosen freedom over captivity. This is why she has chosen Azada as her name for her story – freedom.

Before August 15, 2021 – the day when the Taliban took complete control over Afghanistan, Taliban soldiers and forces were still active in smaller territories. One of those territories was near the city where Azada lived. One day as her closest friend was coming to visit her from afar, the Taliban attacked the vehicle her friend was riding in and killed everyone. Ever since that tragic day, Azada has made it her goal to create awareness within her community about the cruel and unjust acts performed by the Taliban. This led her to become highly involved in large protests, be active on social media, and study at Kabul University. “Before that I wasn’t active on social media, but after that event I became so depressed and wanted to make a difference. That’s when I decided to go to Kabul and begin relations with people who are active in society.”

The protests that Azada got involved in made her become a witness of countless bombs, beatings, and the death of her uncle – an upright man who was very much involved in political protests as well. “All of the young generation began to follow our way, because we lost so much and were tired of not having basic human rights. I participated in almost all the protests, I was very active on social media. I was known as an active woman,“ said Azada. After the Taliban took over Kabul, Azada began to run for her life as she knew that the Taliban was after her for being a social activist.  She fled with a friend for 5-months, changed more than 10 different houses, and never left those houses unless she was moving to another house due to the Taliban finding out where they were. “Everyone was escaping, selling all they had. Countries were closing their borders and our people were getting beaten. I couldn’t understand my feelings, everything was too overwhelming. All I wanted to do was escape.”

After 5-months of writing out hundreds of emails to people who could potentially help them escape, Azada’s friend finally came in contact with the people running At Risk Women. “After several weeks we received a message saying that there was a scholarship for us in Cyprus.” Once the people running the program were able to understand Azada and her friends’ situation better, they made sure that each girl had a safe way of traveling through Kabul and then to Cyprus. After all their necessary documents were collected and all the interrogations from the Taliban were over, Azada and her friend were able to get on a plane to Cyprus. “We passed 4 doors that checked us, and after those 4 intense points I ripped my hijab off as an act of protest. Then we got on the plane” she said with a smile on her face.

Azada is finally in a country that respects her as a woman and is able to walk the streets without the fear of being beaten for wearing a normal shirt. These are Azada’s words of thanksgiving to the people who have helped her come this far, “I am very grateful and very thankful for all the people who are helping us. We were facing a different environment, but when I see the kindness of the people here, I think are we on one planet or is Afghanistan on another planet? Here people are kind and are helping without any expectations. Now I know what a family is supposed to be like.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *