Inspiring young women for peace leadership in Afghanistan: Meet Farida Amiri

  1. Could you describe the first moment when you realize you wanted to do this work?

I believe that in some stage of our life, there are specific events and people that lead us to a revolution in our mind. The revolution started when I was closely and fully involved and responsible in “Afghan Women National Consensus for Peace”, an event held by Office of H.E. the First Lady of IRoA and some other organizations. Since the program was held in every province for women, I knew what every single woman from every part of Afghanistan knows and wants from peace. Therefore, my mind recording women and peace resulted in my trip to “First International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Process” held in March 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. The symposium provoked my passion to go for more and better follow-ups of the trip and be involved in further youth-led organizations and initiatives, particularly peace-related initiatives. And the result is becoming a passionate and volunteer peace-builder. 

2. Could you take us through a day of your work? Where do you put most of your time and energy?

When it comes to being part of organizing an event, workshop, and program, I dedicate all my energy and motivation to do so. At the end of the day, it makes me feel so good because I believe that the experiences and knowledge should not be within a person, but it should go beyond. I think such formal and informal gatherings are one way to exchange ideas and experiences. 

3. What are your key achievements in your work?

There can be a list of achievements, but the most heart-touching achievements for me is grabbing the opportunity to be part of a change in the society, being inspired and being the reason to inspire others are the significant achievements for my volunteer peace-building activities. 

4. How does your organization promote inclusive participation of youth from a diverse background? 

There are different approaches that the organizations which I have worked whether as volunteer or non-volunteer that some of them give space to young people when it comes to decision-making level, program management, leadership and participation of young people. Media also plays an important role; we use our network to reflect our voice and initiative to media, so that other young people and other related organizations get inspired.  

5. What has been your hardest struggle so far, and how did you get over it?

In the society where I live, it is challenging for youth especially for women to prove they are capable of doing something good and innovative because they are judged for being a woman who is believed as a weak and dependent gender. At the beginning of every new environment and context, it has been so difficult for me to engage as a young lady in a male-dominated environment. It was not only to appear but also to do what people thought I cannot do, that’s why I was focusing a lot not to let my self-confidence comes down so that I have the chance to bring this issue as a topic to be discussed and even debated on the table. The discussion and hard-works always helped me deal with it. 

6. What is the biggest challenge you currently face?

As an Afghan young lady, my biggest challenge that I face is putting all my energy for a specific period of time just to prove I am able to do what I am supposed to do. 

7. What has been your biggest surprise on this journey so far?

There are many, but the most significant one which is highlighted on my mind is to see how school students link their paintings with peace messages. They put their thoughts and imagination on the pieces of papers to convey the messages of peace.   

8. What keeps you going and give you inspiration in your work? What gives you hope?

Although there a lot of negative things going on around, as a peace-builder I keep being positive because it helps me not to be discouraged and unmotivated. Also, it gives me hope that I see young people from different parts of Afghanistan come together for a friendly and harmonic gathering despite the political mood of the country.  

9. If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Since I started working as a volunteer in youth-led organizations when I was university student, I would advise people who are younger than me to start working and being involved with social activities at their earliest stage of life. 

10. What words of encouragement would you give to women, children, minorities, and other disempowered groups when they are facing rejection because of the prevailing cultural norm?

I believe that people are defined based on what they believe in not what particular group they belong to. When we believe ourselves for what we are, others will eventually do the same. 

11. How can people contact you and learn more about your work? (eg: email, blog, webpage)

People can approach me through my email and my Facebook account, and I would be so glad to share with them I have been doing. 

Email: faridaamiri7@gmail.comFacebook: