This letter comes from a CAI scholarship student in Afghanistan. The letter, which has been translated from Dari, shares Yalda’s experiences with war, poverty, and hopelessness and the powerful relief scholarships can provide.
Each year CAI provided scholarships to deserving students from kindergarten to PhDs. These students are some of the brightest in their classes but often face horrific poverty and life circumstances many of us could never imagine. Yalda’s honest letter explains the impact a scholarship can have in the lives of our students. This year CAI will support more than 700 students with scholarships, but there are thousands more who need our help.
A Letter From Yalda, a CAI Scholarship Student
I hope this letter finds you well as my only coveted aspiration is your health and wellbeing.
I, Yalda, daughter of Gholam Heydar, study Dari language and literature at the Teacher Training School of Seyed Jamaleddin Afghan. If I tell you the story of my life, you will see what a hard life I have had so far. I was six years old when my father was killed and at the same time my brother lost a limb in a bombing airstrike. From this very moment, my life became grim and was left with a mountain of grief.
When I lost my father and my brother became handicapped, I lost my hope for life and didn’t want to live. No one was there to support us and we were swamped in poverty. We had a hard life and my mother washed clothes at other people’s home to make a living for the family. My life went on in the same manner until I went to the elementary school and continued all the way through 7th grade. We had a kind neighbor, who always advised me to study hard so I can support my family when I grow up.
We moved from our home in that neighborhood when I was at the 7th grade and I could not continue my education because of the poverty. For two years my mother baked bread and I sold them until I could go back to school again and continue my education. I still had financial difficulties and could not buy my school supplies, so some of my classmates would help me with my expenses. While I was happy receiving their support, I was embarrassed and felt [helpless]. I had become sensitive and would take everything personal.
After 12 years of hard work, I finally received my high school diploma, took the university entrance exam (Kankor) and was accepted at the Seyed Jamaledding Teacher Training School. Yet again, I had bumped into a new hurdle: my tuition and expenses of my schooling. Nobody was there to support me, as my brother, a street vendor, could hardly make any money. When the teacher instructed all the students to obtain the Chapters [class books], I was worried because I couldn’t afford to buy the Chapters. Long story short, I can’t tell you enough about the expenses of a student which I couldn’t afford any of them.
As a student, I received only 50 AFN [$0.73 USD] every week which would pay for my transportation; the Melli Bus charges 5 AFN from my home to the school. If I were lucky to catch the bus, I would take the bus; otherwise, I had to walk one hour from my home to school and another hour to come back home. All things considered, I have passed numerous destitute moments in my life to get where I am right now.
Your organization’s support solves a huge portion of my difficulties in life and I would like to ask you please not to cut your financial aids to me. I won’t be able to finish my education if I don’t get your support. I would like to thank you one more time and ask for your continuous assistance until I reach my long life dream of finishing my education, getting a job and helping my family who has never experienced a moment of happiness. My dream about my future is that I can help other people like me who have had a miserable life and have not been able to go to school on their own, like myself, so they can also improve their families’ life.
In the end, I would like to thank you for continuing your assistance so I can finish my education and fulfill my dreams. In fact, with your help to somebody like me, you bring brightness not only to our lives, but also to our families and take away the bitterness with your sweet deeds. God bless you in both worlds and hope you will get the rewards from God in life. This is the grim story of a girl who lost her father at the age of six and has lived a life of misery.
Yalda, daughter of Gholam Heydar