Recently, an intercontinental online peace conference was held in 70 countries around the world, including the Philippines, the USA, Ukraine, Germany, South Africa, China and South Korea, among the participants of which was a teacher from a private school from Afghanistan, Firoza Muradi. The editorial staff of UA-Times contacted Muradi and learned from her how life and teaching is today in her country, which had recently been engulfed in war.
–Tell about yourself, please. Why did you decide to become an educator? What subjects do you teach?
-My name is Firoza Muradi. I am from Afghanistan. I am currently studying at the Department of International and Comparative Politics of the American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, I am working at Mukhtar school as an educator for the HWPL Peace program. Being a student and an instructor at the same time is very interesting for me. I get aware of the responsibilities of both sides and that leads me to be a more focused and responsible person. There were two main reasons behind my decision of becoming an educator; to share my knowledge and knowledge with others around me and to be independent. I started my career by teaching math at Mukhtar school and currently, I am teaching the online classes of the HWPL program to my students.
–How did you decide to teach children HWPL Peace Education? How did they apprehend a new subject? What did they like the most? What was the most difficult thing to explain?
-Well, transferring the message of peace via HWPL Peace Education starts with a commitment that peace education comes before any other subjects in the school. That’s why I thought that my students should be aware of the world and their own country’s situation. They should be involved in the peace process as a peace ambassador for deciding their personal or academic life.
For the first week of my teaching, it was difficult for them to understand the different topics without a book or any preparation, but later that point makes it interesting for them. Every single day they are coming with curiosity to the class and then search about different topics. My students like the debates part the most, where they can share their ideas, concerns, or questions. It was difficult to explain the historical part such as war and conflicts.
–All the world knows that in Afghanistan it is not easy for the civilian population to stay safe. Could you tell, how did people learn to live, work, study and make plans under the constant threat?
-It is true. What I believe is that people get used to it nowadays as it is not something new for them. Afghanistan has a long history of war that the world knows about. The daily life of the citizen is full of violence and tragedy. As people who grow up in such violence, they don’t have any alternative to live without getting used to the situation. I mentioned in my script that the good point about my country is the young generation. Those youth, who have the confidence to grow up in this situation and still proudly raise their voice. I can say that Afghan youth are brave and talented to be committed in this situation of Afghanistan and are still studying and working under this circumstance. The people of Afghanistan, who have experienced violence and lost their family members, still have high hopes for a bright future of Afghanistan and thus, working for it. And that’s what makes me happy all the time.
-What are the basic security measures to be taken by the Afghans before leaving home?
-It depends on the different levels of society in Afghanistan. Those who are rich having their guards when they are leaving home, and those who are poor only having their hopes to back to home safe while leaving home. But still, no one knows what will happen next in the city. most Afghan citizens do not feel safe while leaving home. There is no specific measure, however, avoiding military sides or building is always suggested.
-For long years Afghan girls were deprived of the opportunity to attend school. What about now, what is the attitude of the society? Are there any courses or classes for girls and women who had no opportunity to study under the Taliban?
-For long time years girls were deprived of the opportunity to attend school because of the mindset of society, but now since girls got more opportunities for studying. unfortunately, security still prevents them to attend most of the program and academic conferences. It depends on the secure and insecure provinces of Afghanistan. Girls in the capital of Afghanistan have more opportunities to attend their schools or conferences than girls in insecure provinces. With all that, as of 2018, there are 9 million children in school, in Afghanistan compared to only 1 million in 2001. Of these, 39% are girls, compared to ZERO in 2001.
-Did the HWPL Peace Educationcourse influence the outlook of the students and teachers concerning daily life in Afghanistan? What do the students dream of?
-Yes, of course, it is very effective for them and has influenced both their personal and academic life because it is obvious from their behavior before and during the course that they are taking via HWPL peace education. My student’s dream is to live in a peaceful environment without any fear and war. That is their biggest hope.
-What helps the children to get through the aftermath of the war and instability? Are there any rehabilitation programs?
-In my belief children need the motivation in every stage of their life, that first parents and seconds instructors are responsible to give them courage and motivate them as a supporter to follow their dreams and achieve their goals. I have not witnessed any specific program for school students except the HWPL program, but there are many programs and conferences for university students across the country.
-How developed is the society in Afghanistan? Do the people have any opportunities and desires to participate in charity programs and events?
-Afghanistan is a developing country and each citizen has their freedom to take an active part in different programs, there are no limitations except security that may prevent them, but it all depends on their personal decision to participate in charity programs. Besides, as in the rest of the world, Afghan citizens can get an education, can go to work, Afghanistan is a democratic country with citizens’ rights, freedom of speech, the exitance of media, women participation in every aspect of society. With all the dark sides, there is a happy life going on. People go to vocations across the country, entertainment programs such as concerts and cinemas are getting normal for people. Afghanistan is not the Afghanistan of the 1990s. It is a democratic country that can compete with the rest of the world.
-Is it difficult for women to achieve the aspirations and make their dreams come true in Afghanistan? What is your life dream?
-Yes, it is difficult for a girl or woman to follow their dreams and achieve them, as there are still many barriers and limitations for girls in Afghanistan. My dream since my childhood is to become a representative of Afghanistan in the UN, I always hope that one day I could present the good sides and events, the untold stories of me to the world. Things that never heard or discussed in my country. My dream is to represent my country and give a good impression across the globe. Because whenever people hear about Afghanistan, they just think about war, maybe this is what is reflected from media about my country. But I want to present each youth’s hope for the future of Afghanistan across the globe.
–In your opinion, what should be done today for Afghanistan to become a prosperous country?
-Afghanistan needs international support. There should be a collective well of the international community toward peace in Afghanistan. Investment in Afghan youth, promoting education for both genders, and international investment in the country are the essentials to Afghanistan’s prosperity.