Shaista Waiz - Why fear daughters, do study

 This is from 1987. Afghanistan was battling war in those days. Violent fighting between the Mujahideen and the Soviet Army was at its peak. Millions of Afghan citizens had left the country. Thousands of people were living hellish lives in refugee camps after being homeless. There was a severe shortage of basic things like food, water and medicines in these camps. Shaista was born in one such refugee camp. Things had become worse. Now the refugee camps were also not safe. The danger of death was hovering every moment. In such a situation, his family decided to leave the country.

Shaista Waiz

 Grandfather and father fled to Pakistan, while mother, with the help of a relative, came to America with her six daughters. After some time Dad also reached America. They moved to the Richmond area of ​​California. The family was large. Expenses were high and income was very low. Shaista started studying in a nearby school. Children of mostly poor families used to come there. The responsibility of teaching was on temporary teachers. There were some books in the school, which the children used to divide and study among themselves. Shaista says, Papa did not earn enough to teach us in a good school, but we were happy, because in California we did not hear the sounds of bombings and firing like Afghanistan.

Life started coming back on track. Mother and father got together to share the terrible memories of Jung to shape the future of the children. It was sad to leave home, but I was relieved that we are all safe. Despite living in America, the family's thinking about daughters remained backward. The search for the groom would start as soon as the daughters grew up. But Shaista's attitude was different from the rest of the sisters. She wanted to grow up to be something. He faced difficulties on many fronts. American society had an open atmosphere, but their home environment was still associated with the staunch Afghan tradition. Shaista says, In college, I had friendships with American girls who had all kinds of freedom. But at home I was always reminded that we should live within our limits.

After passing the Inter examination, she was pressurized to leave her studies, but she did not accept. Insisted and got enrolled in the university. She is the first daughter of the family to graduate. Our custom, says Shaista, was that girls get married and have children after passing high school. But I wanted to fly in the sky, so decided to become a pilot. Training began at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. When the grandmother came to know that the granddaughter would become a pilot, her anxiety increased.

He asked, who will marry the girl who drives the plane? Uncle also did not like this decision of the daughter of the house. He said that work like pilots is not for women. But Shaista did not listen to anyone. At the age of 28, she became the first civilian pilot of Afghan origin in the US. When she first arrived in the cockpit of the plane, she could not believe that her dream had come true. In fact, the family's financial circumstances were never such that they could travel in airplanes. Shaista says, we used to travel by local bus or train. Traveling in airplanes was a big deal for us. After becoming a pilot traveled to many countries. Then my outlook on life changed.

It often comes to mind that when they got a chance to fulfill their dream despite being a refugee, then why should not the other daughters of the world get this opportunity? She started a global campaign to inspire daughters to read and move forward. He undertook aerial tour of 18 countries as part of the campaign. In this journey, he traveled 25,800 kilometers. During this time she stopped at 33 places and met the children there and motivated them to study. He completed this journey in 90 days. He tried to arouse interest in subjects like science, mathematics techniques in children and explained that these subjects are not difficult, but fun. Shaista says, I went to countries like Spain, Egypt, India, Singapore and Australia. She met the children there. Every child has talent. They just need to show the right path.

She also went to Afghanistan during this trip. Stayed there for three days. She met her relatives. He was an emotional moment. Relatives came to meet their daughters with them. Shaista decided that she would open a college in Kabul, where girls would be given a professional training so that they could choose the career they wanted. Shaista says, I had dreams in the eyes of Afghan girls. Saw the courage to do something. My dream is complete, now I want to do something for them.

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