One Student, One Story at a Time

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FAUAF is proud to introduce the One Student, One Story at a Time campaign — a series of essays that considers the personal journeys of several AUAF students. Each student tells their story with sincerity, describing their background, their often-times harrowing journey of leaving Afghanistan, and their steadfast commitment to continuing their education.

Through these stories, we are reminded of the incredible resilience of the AUAF community and that education will prevail.

Please note that names and various details have been altered to protect students.

Zarina’s Journey

Video calling from the room she shares with six of her fellow female classmates at a U.S. base currently housing tens of thousands of refugees, Zarina shares a bit about herself and her time at the American University of Afghanistan. Zarina came to AUAF to receive a world-class education and accompany her older sister returning to school after recovering from injuries caused by the 2016 complex terrorist attack on the university’s campus.

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Daana’s Journey

It was the beginning of the semester several years ago. Daana’s face lit up.  Her light green eyes whirling with excitement as she recounted the moment, she learned of her admission to AUAF. Similar to so many stories of young Afghan women, Daana’s life journey has been defined by periods of debilitating challenges and often insurmountable obstacles that are outweighed by perseverance, determination and triumph.  Listening and speaking to Daana, one is immediately struck by her poise, resolve, intelligence, and maturity well beyond her then tender 24 years of age—a constant reminder of the amount of life that she has lived in this short time.

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Maryam’s Journey

Continuing her education was something Maryam was not willing to sacrifice. With the help of Fulbright, Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute, and AUAF, Maryam left behind her home country of Afghanistan, her family, and everything she knew.  Although unimaginably traumatic, she said leaving Afghanistan was necessary because “the best way to become a leader is through education.” This strong belief has driven her to become the extraordinary woman she is today.

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Merhab’s Journey

Enrolling at the early age of fifteen, Merhab’s journey to the American University of Afghanistan was anything but typical. His unique academic path is due to his natural determination, craving for knowledge, and his father owning and operating a school in their hometown of Herat. Merhab enrolled in school at the age of four- an age he described as unusually early in Afghanistan. With the encouragement of his parents, Merhab skipped the third, seventh, and eleventh grades, and at the age of fifteen, he applied to AUAF in complete secrecy. To his surprise, but not to those who knew him, Merhab was accepted with a 90% scholarship and enrolled the following Fall.

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