Women of Afghanistan and Pakistan

By Shereena Qazi for the MyBlueBurka
waiting outside the treatment center

Sajida, 34, waiting to be treated for her addiction

Sajida waited outside the ’50 Bed Drug Treatment Centre’ in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan to be admitted to the centre for her long time drug addiction. She started taking opium as a subrogate to medicines to cure her post pregnancy pains after giving birth to eight children. According to Sajida, most medicines are expired at local pharmacies in Mazar hence making them ineffective, “I didn’t know opium was such a deadly addictive drug, but since it relieved me from my post pregnancy pains, I kept taking it for more than 10 years.”

Watch the trailer of my documentary on opium Addicts in Afghanistan


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Mariam, 11, an Afghan refugee

Mariam, an Afghan refugee in Peshawar was born in the Charsaddah district 11 years ago. Her day job is washing dishes, cleaning and babysitting in at least three houses per day. Her dream is become a teacher – but she has never been to school.

The Afghanistan’s Minister of Refugees and Repatriation announced that his ministry would establish 48 towns in Afghanistan for the returning refugees from Pakistan and Iran. “The ministry plans to establish 48 towns in 22 provinces of the country with the cooperation of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees in the next three years to provide shelters for those returning from Pakistan and Iran.”


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Naheed Rateb, 12, helping her sisters in homework

When a country witnesses’ decades of war and conflict, children of that country are expected to grow up learning violence, at home and at school. Many non-profit organizations in Afghanistan are providing basic education to under privileged children, but what about training children to reject violence and all forms of aggressive behavior in a war torn country?

Watch my story for Euronews on Naheed Rateb joining the Peace Education Program introduced by Suraya Sadeed in Afghanistan.


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Women Celebrating the Birth of a Baby Boy

Pakistan still remains a male dominant country where a birth of a boy is celebrated more than the birth of a girl. Normally, two sheep or goats are slaughtered as a part of the celebration followed by a grand lunch, mostly rice and mutton. The ceremony is called as “Aqiqa” in Urdu and “Oma” in Pashto – Both means celebration. In this particular case, the mother of this baby boy already had two daughters and she desperately wanted a son this time. She was the most happiest after the birth of her son.

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