From Afghanistan to London, one woman shares her story

Following the 2021 takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, women have been faced with tighter regulations with education.

Since 2022, 100,000 female students have been affected by closure of higher education.

According to Unesco, 80% of Afghan women are out of school.

Girls’ quality of life and mental health are affected by the lack of educational opportunities. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, a total of 664 Afghan women participated in a 2021 study regarding rates of depression in Afghanistan.

Approximately 4/5ths had depression symptoms (79.1%).

Jane Doe, a pseudonym given to protect her identity, reached out to talk about her upbringing in Afghanistan in the 80s/90s.

Jane, who now as a baker, grew up in Afghanistan under Taliban control and now resides in Islington, North London.

She said: “I was forced to drop out when I was in year 5.

“I didn’t even have a way to go out and reach my school because I feared I would be beaten by patrol.

“It was so so sad, it affected my well being, I was getting fed up.

“I was stuck at home doing nothing whilst my brothers were going to school .”

“I had no freedom, everything for me was illegal – I couldn’t watch TV, have a phone or listen to music.

“We had to remove our satellite we had before because we were scared that the Taliban would catch us and throw us in prison.”

She got married to her husband, via arranged marriage in 2004.

The pair first migrated to France to gain nationality, then decided to settle down in England, North London in 2007.

Her move from Kabul to London was a significant change as she described England being more opportunistic for her.

She said: “England is the best.

“I can travel around London with no restrictions – there is so much here, I just feel so happy.

“My depression got better when I arrived, I was able to even get my own job and watch my daughters attend school unlike me.

“Things like this improve my mental wellbeing.”

Cover image credit: Photo taken by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash.

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