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Afghan Girls armed with Pens and Poems

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Teen Series Premiered on August 27 at the Afghan Women’s Writing Project

IMO News Service

Twelve year old Shahira has felt the repression of being a girl in Afghanistan, but she is one of the next generation of young Afghan teens arming themselves with pens in fierce determination to see their mother country into a new age. In her new poem, “Big Land,” Shahira accepts her own responsibility in Afghanistan\'s return to a place of light,

We are in darkness and no one can see us.
I am watching, playing, singing my best songs in darkness
but I don\'t know anything about myself.
Where I am, who I am?
There is no one to share with me in this land,
because I am alone.

But I will rise in the dark sky of Afghanistan
to bring back the shining sun.

Shahira works with an online writing mentor through the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP). Her stories and poems, along with writings from scores of other Afghan women, are published online for the world to read at

Madia, a young woman of fourteen, is also experimenting with poetry to express the sorrows of her family and the stories of their lives. At such a young age, her writing shows a vulnerable wisdom in these lines from her recent poem, “Talking With Flowers:”

Sometimes I talk with flowers
And I know they hear me...
I need someone to know what I am feeling,
And the beautiful flowers listen to me.

There is fighting in the streets of Kabul
And people are dying in front of our school.
Students could die, when all they want
Is to learn, to get an education.
It is not fair, and I tell this to the flowers.

This new series from the Teenage Writers Workshop premieres online today featuring the work of Shahira, Madia and other young women. As of early 2013, close to 800 of nearly 200 writers’ works have been published on where visitors from over 190 countries have “heard” the Afghan women’s voices through their written words.

The AWWP was founded in 2009 in defense of the human right to voice one’s story. For more information, please visit or contact them at
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