Shaqayeq Sahar Ebrahimkhil

Afghanistan

Shaqayeq’s father was killed before she was even born. When she was 13 years old an explosion targeted a bus carrying staff of the TV station where her mother, a prominent journalist, worked. When her mother discovered that she was the intended target of the attack, the family fled to Istanbul and applied for asylum in Germany. But only Shaqayeq’s mother’s application was accepted and so the family decided they would attempt to try the illegal crossing over land. It was a traumatic weeks long journey of sleeping out in the dark and cold, beatings, and exhausting treks.

Shaqayeq still carries the trauma of that journey with her along with the trauma of having had to flee her homeland that she desperately loves. She struggles with the reality of Afghanistan today, how it is no longer the country she remembers where a young woman like her could have dreams. She spends a lot of her time volunteering and translating for new arrivals from Afghanistan. She studies with the hopes of becoming a photojournalist and works at a university library to make extra money to send to families in need in Afghanistan.

“The reason I want to climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro is to raise the voice of the oppressed of the war, the voice of the children who are forced to work in bad conditions... I want to raise the voice of suffering women, women whose right to education has been taken away in my home country. Unfortunately, I live in a world where efforts must be made to prevent violence against women! I wish this violence didn’t really exist... It is really unbelievable that after several thousands of years of civilization, mankind still repeatedly commits violence against itself.”