Azim's Mother  ·  Afghanistan

A Single Afghan Mother Flees When Her Girls Are Poisoned at School

Azim's father was killed by terrorists and his sisters were poisoned at school because they were girls.

Writing, Photography by Elizabeth Thayer and Nicole Taylor
Azim Drawing-WM
Azim Drawing-WM
©2016 Elizabeth Thayer / TSOS

Writing & Photography by Elizabeth Thayer


I have six children, 4 girls and 2 sons. My husband was a soldier. He is dead and my daughters were poisoned at school because they were girls. My husband lost his two feet when he was fighting to defend his homeland. He died four years ago because his feet kept pouring out filth. His liver was destroyed due to the effect of the bomb which cut his feet.

When he was alive, everybody protested and told us, ‘Your husband is crippled and he cannot protect his wife and children.’ That was our situation until he died, and after his death, it got even worse. They said that, since my daughters had no father, they had no guardian. Thus, [my daughters] must get married. But the girls did not want to.

They said that girls must not protest. It is not a custom in Afghanistan for girls to talk. They have no right to study and work, they must get married.

Azim Sketch
©2016 Elizabeth Thayer / TSOS

If my son-in-law had not helped us [escape], they would have forcibly married my girls off, and not only they would have destroyed their lives, but their studies would have been in vain, too. I could not accept this.

Azim Standing
©2016 Elizabeth Thayer / TSOS

I came here so that my daughters could have a safe shelter, and a good life. We had no security there at all. If we manage to go to a better country, the studies of my girls can advance further, and we can live in security.

There is no one here who dares to take them forcibly and do whatever they like with them, and there is no one here to poison them in their schools. I carried them from school to the hospital twice for poisoning. There is no security there at all anymore.

If I went back to Afghanistan, my daughters would be destroyed, and I would be worse than them. They also swore that if we come back they will kill my son-in-law.“I brought my daughters here with me and told them that, whatever happens to my life, I would bring them wherever they want to go so that they can continue their studies.

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