AFGHANISTAN. Herat. Unlike many Afghan immigrants who never returned from abroad after fleeing the country, Edris Tajik returned to Afghanistan to become a change-maker. ” I don’t want to let other children experience the life I did,” Tajik said. He marks it as his main inspiration for building peace.
Tragedy in his family forced young Tajik into role of breadwinner
21-year-old Edris Tajik was a child when his family left Herat for Iran. His father became sick and he had to support the family. “I had a trolley which I used to pile up the leftover bread from the neighborhood houses in Tehran. I carried them to a garage where an Iranian man gave me 1000 Toman,” Tajik said. He also cleaned the shops in Tehran as well
Iranian registered schools did not welcome Afghans
Like other illegal Afghan immigrants in Iran, Tajik lost a chance for education. “After schools rejected me [because] I was Afghan, I found another school, directed by Afghans. The Iranians did not register the school,” Tajik told Transcontinental Times. The Iranian government later disbanded the school. He then joined an Iranian school in Tehran. “I participated in an international competition of students in Tehran and got the 2nd position among students from foreign countries,” Tajik said.
Despite Tajik’s success, he said, “They humiliated us and treated us with massive discrimination. Thereafter, I decided to never let other Afghans experience the same misery I faced,” Tajik said, calling it the worst days of his life. “I am working for peace now to never let other children travel to Iran for work. I don’t want them to experience the same things I did.”
Tajik said,” I believe peace comes through education. I would still be an Afghan labor till now, if that school did not exist.”
Returning to Afghanistan
Tajik was committed to his Afghan roots. “I always acted differently. Many told me, ‘Let’s go Europe,’ but I came to Afghanistan after completing Grade 10. Some mocked me for coming back to Afghanistan,” Tajik said.
After returning, Tajik joined the law faculty, and is now the chief of Herat Peace Builders, a group in which 64 volunteer boys and girls work for peace. My biggest ambition is to change the situation for youths,” Tajik said.
Edris Tajik now fulfilled part of his goal by founding the Tomorrow’s Generation, which helps rural children to register for school and persuades families in Herat to let their daughters continue school.