Stories from Afghanistan – Babuna


My name is Babuna. I was a teacher in the Panjwai district. When the Taliban came, they fired me and closed our school. They asked me “Where is your mahram [male chaperone]?” “Why do you leave the house without a hijab?” They closed our school with these excuses. We were very disappointed. 

I became confined to the home. A mere housewife. We talked to other women in our village about the female students. We created a home school. Now I have 25 students in my home school, and I teach them in different classes. One of my students, Nahid, committed suicide because she was expelled from [a government] school. I was distraught. I wanted the girls of our village to not remain illiterate.

Because I have a daughter myself, I feel sorry for other girls. We built a school for my daughter and the village girls, so they don’t stop studying. When the lesson is over, we take my students out of the school in small groups, so that the Taliban don’t know about the school’s existence.

I spend these days in despair, without a job or salary. My husband is also a teacher, but with his meagre income, we cannot afford our living expenses. The principal of our school said “Why do you come to school? Your husband pays for your bread and water.” But we cannot live on this income.

Our economic situation is very bad. Because of the security situation, the village girls and I are very worried.

The Taliban say that women have no right to leave the house. To go to school, to have duties, to work. The Taliban say that women should do housework and raise children. That’s why I am very sad. Why should women not have the right to go to school? Why should women not have the right to work?

The Taliban say don’t work. Stay at home and do the housework. But my husband’s income is just too small. I wanted to work, earn money, and raise our children.

For this reason, we created the home school, away from everyone’s eyes. Since the Taliban came, our economic situation has deteriorated. I teach girls at different times, so they do not realize that it is a home school. We talked to the village women, and they all cooperated with us. They said that when I saw fit, they would send their daughters to learn.

I am very concerned for the safety of my students. I am worried about the village girls and myself. We ask you to help us.

Currently, we have hundreds of issues. The Taliban have told us not to go to the market alone. Go out of the house only with a male chaperone [mahram]. Even in the hot Panjwai summers, they have said to wear a burqa, a hijab, and a chador. In this hot weather, these hijabs cannot be tolerated. It burns a person. They say go out with your husband or a mahram.

I am alone at home. I am not allowed to go shopping now. With the arrival of the Taliban, many restrictions have been imposed on women. The current situation is unbearable. I have no hope for Afghanistan and its future. I can’t even get out of Afghanistan. 

Life here is very bitter; I feel death is better.

Originally published on After August