Two years ago, I was training teachers in remote Saighan, Bamyan, when a group of armed men and two women barged in. One of the men introduced himself as a judge and the chairman of the district court, and asked me to allow the accompanying women to participate in the training, and then recruit them as teachers at BRAC schools. Not wishing to go against the armed men, I interviewed the women, but then found that they were ineligible for the training. I declined their request and asked them to leave. They threatened that I could not continue the training without hiring the two women, and then left.
Later that night in my room, I heard a knock on my door. I opened it to find the same men. This time they told me to include the women in the training or else they would bar all other women from attending the training. Once again I told them that the women did not meet the criteria for training. This made them angry. I thought they would shoot me right then and there.
Much to my surprise, quite the opposite happened. Upon seeing my determination, they invited me to have dinner with them. We discussed the importance of women’s contribution to society and I argued that as judges, they should know what is right and what is wrong. I explained the reasons why I could not allow the women to attend the training. To my relief, they admitted that the two women were from impoverished families and they wanted to help them with getting a job. They agreed to my views and commended me for my work and dedication.
Throughout the ordeal I was not afraid. I feel that nothing can deter me from doing things that are right. I will continue my fight against discrimination and to uphold BRAC’s mission and values, which I consider now to be inseparable from my own. I always feel proud to say that I am BRAC.
Abdul Hadi Rahmani
Associate Faculty Member, Capacity Development Programme
BRAC in Afghanistan