“… no way to live like a human.”
Letter of transmittal of the open letter to Vice President Kamala Harris via the White House Gender Policy Council
September 23, 2021[To the White House Gender Policy Council]
With heavy hearts, we send along a very moving letter to Vice President Kamala Harris from [name redacted]… a self-made and educated single woman and [redacted summary: administrator of a university in Afghanistan, where she received international recognition].
This letter from one individual encapsulates the plight of untold numbers of women who embraced values of self-reliance, education, and freedom, which the United States has promoted for twenty years in Afghanistan. These women, who have risked everything to build a vibrant Afghan Civil Society with our encouragement, deserve our loyalty and attention.
Can you please bring this to the attention of the vice president’s staff and provide a response we can share with [name redacted] and others.
Thanks so much for your consideration and continuing hard work on this matter.
Rev. Chloe Breyer, Dr. Betty Reardon & Dr. Ellen Chesler, (Conveners of a citizens’ group advocating for Afghan women)
Open Letter to Kamala Harris
Greetings from Afghanistan. This is [name redacted] an Afghan woman who is concerned about losing my job, my hopes and all my future plans; a woman who started the journey of my life and it has been as difficult as you would think. When I was two years old, I lost my mother, and I don’t have any sisters. My father remarried, and I grew up under the care of my uncle. To shorten my story, despite the challenges (mentally) that I faced, I graduated from university, majoring in literature and humanity, at the top of my class with the highest grades. At the same time, I learned and improved my English Language and computer skills, where for a female, it was frowned upon to study in a course with a male teacher. I didn’t give up and proved myself to be a brave woman. Thus, I was the first female in my family who bought a cell phone, the first who had a desktop computer, and the first who got her driver’s license. I also went to a gym and finally stood up to my family and did not marry, for I chose to flourish my education and help others, which is my priority and goal.
The second step of my life revolves work experience. I had started an internship program which was supported by [a civil society organization] through a leadership program; following that, I worked as a manager in a private school. Furthermore, I have taught English at the intermediate level until I started working as [a university administrator at a university in Afghanistan.] At this position, I have done more than what was expected of me. I worked actively with different universities, institutions, and NGOs all around the world, including [redacted] I received an award from [redacted] for my services and effectiveness. My plan was to get my Master’s Degree at a top university outside of Afghanistan because I believe being educated is the only way to reach my goals and to be able to serve other people as well. Unfortunately, when our country was taken over by the Taliban, all my plans have thwarted, and my hopes are lost.
Now, to sum this up, as a single female who spent my whole life wishing to achieve my goals and make my hopes come true, I now have to sit at home with my stepmother just because the Taliban won’t let women work in a society with men and women together side by side?! Are we supposed to live the rest of our lives in fear because of working and cooperating with foreign institutions in the past?! Or is it the equity to not live like a human because of working with the government?! What is the meaning of human rights when I don’t have permission to leave my home without my father or brother?! So, at this time I must get out of the country, and I just hope to be helped if I am eligible. I really need your kind consideration because there is no way for me to live like a human here; I can’t breathe.
With Regards,[An Afghan Woman Educator]