On the occasion of upcoming International Women’s Day, the 8th March, three brave Afghan women talk about their work, achievements and challenges. Furthermore, they have International Women’s Day messages for the women in the world, especially in Afghanistan.
Zakia Mohammadi, Staff Sergeant
“My name is Zakia Mohammadi and I have been working as a Staff Sergeant in Kabul for 22 years. My main task is to solve family problems of the people in our district and stop domestic violence. I like my job and I am very much proud of it. However, the promotions of female police are based on nepotism and relations. I kindly ask the Afghan Ministry of Interior to establish a truly merit-based system for promotions of the Afghan female police.
Our work is to visit homes and rescue women. For example, some time ago I received a call from a person who said a woman in his neighborhood had been fighting with her husband and is now about to burn herself. I went there with my team and saw that the woman had fuel all over her body and wanted to burn herself after realising that her husband and his friend had brought to the family home a woman with whom both the men had an affair.
This kind of work is sometimes very dangerous and I kindly ask the Afghan government to protect the female police and think of their promotions. Meanwhile, I would like to say Happy International Women’s Day to all women in the world, especially the women in Afghanistan who put their lives at risk to serve their nation!”
Sonia Sarwary, Film Actress
“My name is Sonia Sarwary. I have been working as a film actress since last six years in Afghanistan. I have had a central role in two Afghan films and five TV serials, including the role of an Afghan female police in the popular TV serial Commissar Amanullah. The character I played in Commissar Amanullah, supported the recruitment of Afghan female police and tried to stop violence against women, especially the women within police. One of the scenes in the serial will always remain as a memory for me: I was told to fire an AK47 but I was scared and couldn’t do it. I wish there will be time when we don’t need to use weapons in our country and we will live in peace.
I am also interested in basketball, I play basketball with my friends all the time. I am happy with my job, although I have received a lot of threats because of it and once some unknown men even poured acid on me. I kindly ask the Afghan government to pay attention to the situation of actors and actresses: it’s much worse than six years ago. With the new National Unity Government, most of the actresses quit their jobs due to security concerns.
On this special day, I would like to say congratulations to the women in Afghanistan and all over the world. We know that the Afghan government cannot do a lot, but we hope that the government could give a flower of encouragement to all the working women of this country. It would mean a lot for us!”
Fareba Hamid, First Sergeant
“My name is Fareba Hamid and I have been working as a police sergeant for ten years. My main task has been training and education in one of the police districts in Kabul. I have provided many community policing courses for our own staff as well as for the female students in the schools to show how the citizens and police can work together. When I visit the schools, I share my phone number with the female students. One day I received a call from a girl who was crying and said her brother will kill her mother because the mother refused to pay him money for drugs. Our police district immediately took action and arrested the man.
I am satisfied with my job. However, there are a number of challenges, which the Afghan government must deal with. One of the biggest challenges is that although all the police officers risk their lives to protect others, for the female staff members the risk is even higher. We cannot wear our uniforms outside the police district as some people in Afghanistan have a misconception about female police and don’t want women to be part of the police force. On the other hand, the salary of the Afghan police is low and we cannot pay for our transport. Either our salaries should be increased or duty related transport should be provided for the female police sergeants and officers.
I would like to take the opportunity and congratulate all the women, especially the mothers, sisters and daughters in Afghanistan on the International Women’s Day. The women should not leave their country. We should work together, to server our country. We should bring a change and we can do it!”