Reasons to be hopeful

04 February 2014

by Zubaida Akbar - Co-founder of Hadia

Zubaida Akbar explains how Afghanistan's conflict has shaped its people's spirit

I gave birth to my little, precious son “Arash Amini Akbar” on September 20th 2013, just months ahead of the dreaded 2014 or what my Afghan friends called the “doomsday” for Afghanistan.  I decided to become a mother here because I believe in Afghanistan and in being able to realize a better future for my homeland.

While Afghanistan is a country of war, suicide attacks, terror and fear it is also a country of hopes, dreams and new lives.  I know that merely believing in a better future for this country is a step forwards towards rebuilding it and helping it rise from the ashes.  I have faith in Afghanistan and I am hopeful about what the future holds for her.  My faith in my country lies in every small or big effort of my fellow Afghans to continue a “normal” life here, in their spirit of living a happy life and getting back up after falling over and over.

Afghans have experienced indescribable pain and loss.  But we have had the strength to transform every pain and loss to a sacred scar of our struggle which has made us strong and has given us the ability to continue celebrating the smallest joys and to smile at the face of life.

I know young Afghans who are the most brilliant examples of how war, violence and suffering has turned them into proud survivors and fighters  who will continue to struggle for a better future despite seeing no  ray of light at the end of the road.

A typical day for an average Afghan means a suicide attack and the loss of a loved one, a neighbor or someone they know.  Every morning when we wake up and step out of our homes to go to work, we know that this might be the last day of our life and we might not return to our families at the end of the day.  We know one of these suicide attacks one day will hit us as it did  our friends, loved ones and people we know.  But we continue.  We try nonstop and every day we find a new reason to be hopeful.  If nothing else, this spirit will rebuild Afghanistan.

In 2005, in my efforts to do the least I can do for Afghanistan, I co-founded Hadia Youth Volunteer Group for Social Reform, a group of 30 young people who have faith in this country and want to make it work.

Through this organization we reach out to women and children in need and we empower them to become the advocates of their own rights.  So far, this organization has been able to reach hundreds of children and women and has inspired them to improve their lives.  In Hadia we want to spread this spirit and we want to tell every Afghan to keep moving ahead and to not let hopelessness, fear and terror stop them.  This is a costly war but at the end of the day it will be worth it.  We are not victims.  We are survivors and fighters and we will continue to fight for the life that we have long deserved.