Daughters of War

by - 10:47 PM



I had a defining moment with a girl named Leena* (name changed). She's 13 and has studied music for 3 years. Due to insecurity, she couldn’t walk home after school, so I dropped her off. On the way, I asked about her family. She doesn't live with them. 3 years ago, her neighbors in a strict tribal area found out she was studying music and said she must stop. They gave her an ultimatum: choose family or music. At 11, she stood her ground and chose music. Thankfully her parents sent her to live in the city with an old lady. L* laughs and says sometimes she has to cook for her.

I said, I’m glad your family supported you to continue music! She looked at me sadly and said yes teacher… but they didn't even come to see me on my birthday yesterday! Then she covered her face and let out an agonizing cry. Speechless, I hugged her tightly and finally said its ok dear, we are your family now, all of us at school love you – you are so, so brave.

That night, my heart burned – not with anger or sadness, but sheer determination. This is exactly why I’m here. For these ones who don't have father and mother or anyone to believe in them. Most of the girls I teach are from an orphanage that takes in street working kids, from families too poor to keep them, or girls from Taliban-controlled tribal areas and have no chance of education. Some days I forget what they go through, and I treat them as students. But last night, a question burned in me: How do I treat these girls not as students, but as daughters? In a life where they are silenced and forgotten, how do I show them the love of a God with a heart of adoption?

I opened my Word and amazingly, it fell to Hs. 2:14-23 – “I will make the Valley of Achor (meaning ‘trouble’) a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth… sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so all may lay in safety. I will betroth you to me forever, in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion, in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge Me. I will plant her for myself in the land and show my love to the one called ‘Not my loved one’.” 

[Cover Photo: The girls of Wakhan Corridor, by Untamed Borders.]

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Welcome to my wayfaring world of stories. I’m a traveling musician and music educator from Melbourne living in Kabul, Afghanistan. Join me on my quest to embrace people of peace in tough places, inspire creative education where none exists, spark conversations that challenge the status quo, and collaborate with like-minded young people to catalyze a movement of peacemaking through acts of compassion and creativity among the young and free. As a nomad at heart, my ‘home’ is wherever I journey with people on the ground and discover life on the frontiers.