Sayed Khalid Sadaat is a young Afghan student who is pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication at the Faculty of Journalism and Communication at M S University. He studied cinema and theatre in Kabul University and has acted in Afghan TV serials and advertisements and has also worked as a production assistant. In Kabul, Khalid worked with one of the world’s largest humanitarian agencies, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) through his years in college. He supervised projects on women’s empowerment and girls’ education. Working with internally displaced people and students, he realised that he could become an instrument of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Good afternoon dear all respected guests.
First, I welcome Mr. Robert McNulty the founder of Pax Populi to Vadodara, and I thank Eisha ma’am for inviting me to this program.
I was a child of war but now I am youth of peace.
I was born in 1989. That was the time, the Soviet Union left Afghanistan and Afghan Civil War began.
I was five years old when I enrolled in school. I remember another date from my childhood: 27, September, 1996. The Taliban executed Dr. Najibullah, the president of Afghanistan. As an Afghan child, I remembered all the dark days of Afghanistan during the war. Like many others, I never left my country.
As a school student, I was not aware of the world. Under the Taliban rule, the schools only taught us the religious books and explained about Jihad (holy war). They were impressing our minds and encouraging us to join the jihad. The pages of our books were torn. There were no new books. My older brother wrote his notes on pages torn from my friends books and gave them to me. My mother made notebooks from paper bags for us. She encouraged us to study hard.
In 2001, after the Taliban, all the dark days I kept in my memories as bad dreams and started a new life with new dreams. I got the opportunity to become a youth of peace. A new government was established and the international community had come to Afghanistan to help in rebuilding our country. I am gateful to them. Afghanistan had to start from scratch to get to the state it is in now after 15 years.
Education is the backbone of a country. Many Afghans are still deprived of that. I am one of the hundred Afghan’s youth who complete their Primary education and find the chance to go for higher education. There are so many youths who still suffer. They don’t have access to education, especially girls. Boys and girls are not allowed to continue their education where religious leaders dominate. Some cannot continue their education due to poverty. They have to work and support their families. You find many children working on the streets to support their families. Many children beg for alms.
The lack of educational centers, qualified trainers, useful teaching materials, public libraries, access to internet are the main challenges we face in gaining access to education not only in the remote areas but also in the main cities.
We still need the support of the international community especially in the field of education. Only through education can we bring peace and reconciliation among our people. As an Afghan youth, I am hopeful for the future of my country and will try my best to save my people from misery.
In 2014 I invited for the peace and reconciliation seminar which was conducted by Jesuit Refugee Service in Delhi, India. I learned a lot about peace and reconciliation here. I returned to Afghanistan and started peace and reconciliation classes for school students there. They, in turn, shared their messages about peace and reconciliation massage with three members in their family or friends. Their interest has made me more hopeful about the future of Afghanistan.
After the completing of my master’s degree in journalism and mass communication in India I will go back to Afghanistan with the massage of peace and help those people who don’t have access to education.
I invite all the institutions which work for education and peace around the world to come to Afghanistan and support us for the bright future.