Sahar Noyan recently moved from Afghanistan to Sweden and attends VRG Djursholm. She reflects over the educational differences between the countries. For the poor people in Afghanistan due to Covid-19, Sahar is now taking action.

2020-06-01

Sahar Noyan was born and raised in the United States. When she was 11 years old her family moved back to Afghanistan. Since Sahar did not speak any Farsi at all, she attended an international school. During the winter break in seventh grade, the school shut down due to threats from terrorists. This forced Sahar to attend a private Afghan school which helped her become fluent in her mother tongue.

Earlier this year, Sahar and her family moved to Sweden when her father, Mr. Abbas Noyan, was appointed Ambassador of Afghanistan to Sweden. Sahar explains that it was not easy to find a place to stay. Once the family settled, she began looking for a nearby school she could attend. “VRG stood out to me, just based on their website. From the student testimonials I could see that students loved going to this school, and the quality of the education was also very high”. 

Sahar’s time in VRG Djursholm’s school buildings was cut short, when Covid-19 forced all schools to teach on distance. Although she experienced only a brief time at VRG Djursholm, she was impressed by the school. “I enjoyed meeting my new classmates and teachers, who I found to be kind, nice, and extremely generous. I wasn’t wrong in selecting to go to VRG. I met wonderful people that have been nothing but kind and welcoming to me”.

Living in Afghanistan differs very much from Sweden, Sahar explains. The society is struggling with poverty and poor living standards, and although she attended one of the best private schools in the country the schools in Sweden are something different. “Education at VRG is in a whole different league. One of the reasons is the lower student to teacher ratio here. Over there, we would have 40-45 students in each class which is difficult and overwhelming for the poor teachers to teach and manage. The quality of education sufferers, naturally”.

Sakhi Shrine, Kabul. ”A place to pray and also visit the graves of your loved ones. It is beautiful, especially at night, and many go there to have a picnic and just gaze at the stars and relax”. Photo: Sahar Noyan

 

The Covid-19 situation has also affected Afghanistan, to a great extent, with 80% of the inhabitants already living below the poverty line. In late March, the government introduced lockdowns which have been particularly difficult for poor people. “Family and friends report the number of people begging on streets have grown significantly, especially the women. It’s just heartbreaking, hearing about everything that is happening there”, Sahar explains.

Sahar, together with her siblings and friends, felt a responsibility to act and decided to organize a fundraiser to help prevent the hunger pandemic that threatens the Afghan people. “We created a GoFundMe campaign and started collecting donations from family, friends, acquaintances, and total strangers. Our goal is $10,000, and so far we have reached over $8,000. Once we have reached our goal, the money will be sent over to my sister who lives in Kabul, and she will distribute the cash to the poor families”.

Their plan is to give between $50 and $100 to each family, which is equivalent to their monthly income. “Specifically, we are targeting female-headed households, whose livelihoods have been affected far worse. In times of crisis, women and children are the most vulnerable and face the highest risk of suffering”

To take action and contribute in any way she can, is natural for Sahar. “Afghanistan is part of me. Although I was born in the U.S. and lived a privileged life there, moving to Afghanistan sharply changed my perspective”.

Thank you for sharing your story and your commitment to doing good, Sahar! All of VRG applauds your efforts.

 

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Sahar Noyan

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