I worked for every word

Today, less than 10% of the girls living in Afghanistan have the opportunity to go to school. 


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When I came to SOLA (School of Leadership, Afghanistan) in 2012, I was fourteen. It was so hard for me to be at SOLA because we had a language pledge [promise] to speak only English and I didn’t know English. My native language is Pashto. We had English books at our public school, but how could I learn from my public school teachers when they didn’t know English themselves? They know just a few words and they don’t really know any grammar. 

     It was so hard. When other SOLA students were speaking English, I was thinking, “How can they speak so well? Why can’t I?” I cried almost every day because I couldn’t speak English. We are not allowed to speak in Pashto or in Dari. We are only allowed to speak in English. 

     Then I was angry with myself. I decided that every day I would learn two or three English words. I thought it would help me speak better. I worked so hard. I wanted to speak English so much. Every day I listened carefully to what others were saying, how they pronounced the words, and how they made sentences. When I learned a new word I was so happy!  I almost could not believe it. Day by day I was getting better. After one and a half months, I too started speaking in English.  —Anisgul

In less than two short years, Anisgul has learned to speak English amazingly well. She recently passed the extremely difficult TOEFL test and soon will be studying in America. Her dream is to return to her country and be a doctor. Women doctors are greatly needed in Afghanistan.

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        A special footnote to this story from a SOLA teacher—

When I arrived at SOLA at the beginning of January (when it was freezing cold outdoors in the mornings and almost as cold inside the buildings, unheated as most buildings are) I was impressed by the sight of the girls in the black pre-dawn hours, hunched over their computer screens and bravely holding English conversations with their distant e-tutors; having pulled themselves out of their little bunks and ventured outdoors to the building where we have internet service, sometimes trudging over snow and ice in their slippered feet. It meant much to them to be able to learn. I could not help but be impressed by their dedication as they shivered and smiled through their sessions. —Anthony Pearsal

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com