Memories of a dream

By Yalda Rauf
Yalda Rauf's stories

My story begins in the year 1397. I was 14 years old and was sitting in the classroom of the public school in Herai. Our class was relatively large, there were fifty students but only twenty seats, so many had to share. One day, my teacher entered the classroom accompanied by two sophisticated-looking men. They were very formal and stylish, and I was very curious who they were and where they came from. They introduced themselves as recruiters from the Afghan Turk International School, and they had come to announce the two-stage entrance exam for students interested in attending the Afghan Turk High School. This was a golden chance for us public school students. I was very eager to take this exam, hoping it would lead me to a better educational environment.

With my family’s permission, I got the necessary study material for the exams and studied every hour of the day. I was still reviewing the book just before the time of the first exam, and I was stressed but excited as well. I finished the exam with all possible focus and effort. Finally, those anxious hours ended, and the long wait began. After a couple stressful days, the results were announced: I passed!

The next stage of the exam would be taken soon after the announcement, and I studied even harder. The stakes were even higher this time: passing would earn me a 50% discount on the tuition. I finished the exam that day with the utmost care and effort. Once it was over, another period of waiting began. I prayed every day, asking God to help me to get a good result

Finally, the day of announcing the results arrived. I passed again! I was extremely happy. I received two certificates, and thanked God countless times. My family was happy with my results as well, they showed opposition when I told them I wanted to continue my studies in the Afghan-Turk high school. They opposed because of the school fees, and they were worried about my safety because the school was far away. I was very upset because I did not see it that way. Unfortunately, in our society, girls do not have the permission to go outside the house alone. If they do, they will definitely face problems. It’s nice and beautiful to be a girl, but not in my country…

After four years I reached the twelfth grade and decided to prepare for the university entrance exam, hoping to fulfill my dreams at the university. But my parents again showed opposition due to economic problems. I begged them to at least allow me to study a little, and finally they relented and I was able to go to take the university entrance preparation course.

I was doing my best at the course, but after a few months, fate took an unexpected turn. The Taliban occupied our beloved country and with their arrival, all educational institutions for girls were closed. Once again, we were denied the chance to of study. After several months, a sudden decision was made to conduct the university entrance exam of the year 1401, despite our lack of preparation. Since we had no choice but to accept, we filled the university entrance exam form so we’d be included in the exam. Although it was sudden, it was still able to pass, securing a position in the field of sociology.

With tons of enthusiasm, I went through the university registration process, thinking about my dreams for the future. But the day after I registered, news of the universities closing spread all over the country. Nearly eight months have passed now. Myself and countless other girls are forced to stay at home, uncertain of our fates.

11 October, 2023