I am Khatira, 15 years old. I am originally from Afghanistan. it’s been more than 10 months living in Canada under foster care without my sweet family. I am telling a short part of my story in order to tell people how powerful my story is. How it influenced me to be here today. 

And how my story can inspire my fellows and this society.

I am strong, hardworking but sometimes fears frighten me: like the fear of losing my family every second that I am working hard to make them see me and say ‘Farahnoush-girl we are proud of you’.

My parents gave me bravery, roots and wings to fly. They supported me when I wasn’t accepted as a daughter or even human in Afghanistan’s society. My family fought with people who wanted to throw acid on my beautiful face because I wanted to ride a bike, go to school, and participate in international programs and conferences, and whenI was talking to social media about women’s rights in Afghanistan. I was really mad at men; I was jealous of them and felt small. But my parents taught me: question your conviction. Be who you want to be not who they want you to be! Don’t accept their enslavement for your mother birthed you free.

I fought, I pushed the barrier, not the papers, when I first came to Canada. I felt strange and unaccepted. I could not speak or understand English. I found myself discouraged, alone, and unmotivated. Later on, I saw a photo of my friend’s dead body in an educational center in Afghanistan. I lost him in a bomb explosion. I was suffering from not knowing English, losing my friend and the fear of losing my family.

But there was a voice that said: ‘It’s okay, think about how you can change it? Think about your dream and where you want to be? And how you can help people?’The answer to each question was to not give up no matter what. I startedmy daily routine with reading books, drawing, painting, and working with anEnglish textbook I borrowed from the library in order to help myself learn English.

My experience with being a refugee has made me work hard, become resilient, and creative. I claimed refugee status in Canada where I aim to use the opportunities education affords me to drive and shape my own destiny.

Asking for help became my sign of intelligence and strength that resulted in me being able to speak English well, find friends at school, run for election for the vice president of the student council and participate in extracurricular activities. I chose my priority to get education. I sought education in order to be independent and be capable of bringing aboutchange. As Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The world needs lots of educated and cooperative girls to work hard and to stand against injustices and to raise their voice.

I came to Canada to start over and to build up the strength required to change not Afghanistan, but the world. My past is my greatest motivation to work hard to seize opportunities to eliminate the injustices I’ve experienced. I am an asylum seeker looking for healing, learning, and opportunity. I deserve to have my rights as a human being.

I provided myself with the chance of fighting and bringing justice, peace to my country. I want to be a politician to learn and teach people that we need a peaceful world full of love, cooperation, and support. I want to make an immeasurable impact on Afghanistan, Canada and the world.

My message to refugees and people is to never blame yourself for choosing your safety, life, and happiness as a priority. Always believe in your ability because we are powerful beyond measure, and to all of us let’s speak out and help refugees thrive not just survive because I believe we are not immigrants – the earth is our home