Student Whose College Was Devastated By Suicide Bomb Achieves Top Exam Result
A young woman has been praised for her perseverance after topping Afghanistan’s nation-wide university entrance exams following a suicide bomb attack on her college.
Shamsia Alizada, the 18-year-old daughter of a coal miner, was preparing for her university exams at the Mawdud Academy in Kabul in 2018 when a bomber perpetrated by ISIS detonated explosives in one of the classrooms.
The attack killed more than 40 students and wounded many more, with a blast so strong that the building’s roof was torn off. Alizada had been studying for free at the Mawdud Academy, but after the tragic events she began to experience depression and decided to drop out of school.
After the damage at the academy was repaired, teachers encouraged Alizada to return to school, and she took her university entrance exams this year alongside more than 170,000 other students.
The teenager was confident she’d do well in her exams, but she didn’t expect to achieve the highest grade of any student. The news was announced on an evening news show in Afghanistan, though Alizada wasn’t home at the time.
Discussing her achievement with the Etilaatroz, per NPR, she recalled:
My mother called me and told me that I topped the exam. I came and hugged my mom very tightly. That has been one of those moments that I may never forget, because the smile I saw on my mother’s face was from the bottom of her heart.
The editor of Etilaatroz, Khadim Karimi, took to Twitter to praise the young woman’s achievements. He wrote that the country was ‘proud’ of Alizada’s result, adding that she was ‘an example of not giving up and rising from the ashes.’
Zaki Daryab, publisher at Etilaatroz, added:
Her father is in a coal mine under a mountain. When he hears about his daughter, the weight of the mountain will be like straw for him.
Had the attack not happened, Alizada believes the top grade would have gone to a young woman named Rahila, who was killed in the blast.
But unfortunately, with all her dreams, today, she is in the grave. It is really painful.
Alizada’s success comes amid historic negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which hope to end nearly four decades of continuous conflict by giving the Taliban a role in Afghanistan’s political life.
Afghan feminist Orzala Nemat stressed that regardless of how the negotiations turn out, the Taliban ‘will have no choice but to agree to accept this reality… in Afghanistan that women are now standing on their own feet.’
After doing so well in her exams, Alizada hopes to fulfil her dream of studying medicine and becoming a doctor.
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