Frishta Matin reflects on her family’s new life in Scotland, her work for the Linda Norgrove Foundation, and the current situation in her home country Afghanistan.
It is raining outside, and I am sitting in front of the window staring at the raindrops. It reminds me of rainy days in Kabul. The smell of the soil after the rain was the best perfume in the world.
Watching schoolgirls with white and black uniforms but colourful umbrellas laughing and walking on the street; having ice cream in the car while listening to the sound of the raindrops with family; and that freedom.
The rain is still there, the best perfume in the world is there, but not the freedom. Not the happy girls with colourful umbrellas. Not meeting with friends in the cafés. Not that little sense of life satisfaction.
I am happy that I have lots of good memories from Afghanistan. The beauty of the land, the smile on the faces of the girls going to school and universities, the happiness of the women who were working in the offices, the joy and laughter of the kids in play parks with their mothers.
There were difficulties as well, but I was happy that I had the power to improve people’s lives. I had the Linda Norgrove Foundation by my side to help needy girls go to school and universities, to help poor families to pay for their kids’ surgery, and to bring smiles to the faces of exhausted street working children by supporting different educational programs.
I was introduced to the Linda Norgrove Foundation 11 years ago when I was a university student working with a private university. I started working part-time for the Foundation in 2018. Working for the Foundation is the best decision I have ever made in my life.
Throughout the years we supported small projects with tangible results. Things changed when the Taliban took over Afghanistan and with the support of the Foundation, I along with my family left the country. It has been almost two years since we came to the Isle of Lewis. We are fortunate to be surrounded by kind and supportive people. I continued my work with the foundation as a trustee and volunteer.
Although I am in a safe place now, all my thoughts are with the people of my country. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan women lost everything, even their basic rights. Right now, they are banned from university, public places, amusement parks, gyms and sports clubs and most forms of employment.
I believe Afghan women need support more than before. Women who lost their jobs and are the only breadwinner of the family, girls who are banned from going to school or universities, families who need medical support, the mother who cries quietly in the kitchen with nothing to cook and children who must sleep hungry at night, all need help.
I believe there is no better feeling than knowing that you have helped a needy person. The Linda Norgrove Foundation, with your help and support, is still trying to send reasons to smile and hope to Afghan women and children.