A few years ago, I mentored Nargis when she was a young woman living in Afghanistan. Today she is living and working two jobs, seven days a week in the US to support herself and help her family in Afghanistan. I am launching this appeal on Nargis’s behalf to help her sister and niece leave Afghanistan to find safety in Tajikistan.
We know there are thousands of people in Afghanistan worthy of our support, and Nargis is aware her campaign is to help only two of them, but they are her sister and niece and their lives are in danger.
Will you help Nargis? Any amount will be appreciated more than you can imagine.
This is Sonia’s* story in her own words.
My name is Sonia and I have a 5 years-old (soon she will turn to six) daughter named Bahar. Like other Afghan’s women, I was forced to get married with a widow man who had three daughters in the age of 3,7 and 10. He introduced himself as a civil engineer to my family. My father thought, he is rich, educated and forced me to marry him. I did not have the right to say no, and I married him in 2014. Our wedding ceremony was very simple and traditional at home.
As soon as I got to his house, he turned to a wild person and started beating me like an animal. My family couldn’t meet me because my father got some money from him and that meant he bought me and has the right to do whatever he wants. After a month, it was Eid day and I cried a lot and begged him to allow me visit my family. He said OK but if you tell anything to your family, I will kill you and I can kill your whole family. I promised that I will not say even a word.
When we went to my family’s house, my cousin who is a lawyer was there. We where there for an hour and left back to our house. My cousin told my parents that you did a big mistake marrying her to a person who killed his first wife. He had his case on file from killing his wife.** We didn’t know about that because he told us that his first wife had cancer and she passed away. It was too late to be regret…
He was beating me and his three little daughters everyday. Even he was not giving us food and we were hungry and starving for days. No one was there to help us and hear our voice.
One day my sister Nargis, who is younger than me and was working with an international organization came to meet me. When she saw that my face, eye, and almost all body was hurt she started crying and told me to go with her and leave him. I said, I can’t he will kill all of you if do this. Nargis hugged me we cried a lot and a lot, but we had no way to get out of this situation, but she promised to help me. Then she gave me some money to buy food for myself and kids. My husband came and saw the money, he took it from me and hit me with his belt that I was in so much pain for many days.
When he found out that my sister, Nargis works and has good income he started black mailing her. He told her that if you don’t give me 300 dollars per month, I will kill Sonia. She was scared and was giving her money for almost a year.
One day, I was combing my little stepdaughter hair (3 years old) I heard that the elder daughter is screaming and asking for help. I run out to the bedroom and saw that her father raped her. The poor innocent girl fainted, and I screamed help help and he shut my mouth with the tape and beat me with his belt again. My stepdaughter was shocked, and she lost the ability to talk anymore.
One day when he left out, I used the opportunity to run to my mother house. And my sister Nargis started to file a divorce case. My case was in process at the court. I went to the court but found he was there. He found a chance to see me and talk to me. He said if I get divorce and tell the truth to the judge, he will kill my sister. I was scared and I missed the court and went back to his house.
This violence was happening everyday, and I was like a prisoner. I was not allowed to eat and drink for days. He tied my hands and legs on the bed to not be able to escape. I got weak, sick, and really in a bad situation that I can’t explain how bad it was. One day when he went out, my second stepdaughter (7 years old) helped me to scape from window. I told her that he will kill you if he finds out she said no please go or he will kill you like he killed my mother.***
I took a taxi and came to my mom house. That time he forcefully had sex with me, and I got pregnant which I didn’t know. This time Nargis asked help from civil society and women judges which was supported by US Government. I was able to get divorced after three years. Me and my daughter Bahar were living with my mom and siblings, but now that the government collapse and Taliban is in Afghanistan, my ex-husband joined Taliban and threatened me and my daughter to death.
Now the Taliban are here and my ex-husband knows where my family lives we had to flee and are hiding in a house basement. We are with my cousin lawyer and his family because the Taliban don’t like him and my brother who Taliban tortured. We are waiting for Tajikistan visas as soon as the Tajikistan consulate is open.
We need your help to save our lives. Please, please help us before its to late.
We originally attempted to launch this campaign through a GoFundMe account, but because of the extraordinary number of individual campaigns after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and GoFundMe’s inability to verify them all, the organisation took the decision not to accept individual fundraising campaigns.
In response to this we had little choice but to launch this appeal, which will rely on your assistance to spread the message on social media. Please, help us do this.
Please do not donate if you do not feel comfortable with crediting funds into a PayPal account in my name, Denise Leith, or satisfied that I will forward those funds directly to Nargis when they arrive in my account and she will use them to help her sister.
I will post regular updates on this page regarding Sonia and Bahar’s current situation and a running total of funds raised.
No funds will be accepted beyond those required to get Sonia and Bahar to safety in Tajikistan.
USD $ 3,848.68 = AUD $ 5,201.87