"I knew of Malala as an extraordinary young woman who had marvelled the world by her victory over death; her fierce fight for women's education and for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, all before she turned twenty years old
Paralysed by polio in one leg and shot by Taliban terrorists in another, Breshna Musazai is a living example of resilience.
Musazai hails from Afghanistan, a country reeling under chaos owing to the widespread terrorism. She was left to die when a Taliban terrorist shot her when she was on way to evening prayers.
A student of American University of Afghanistan then, she was headed to the campus mosque for evening prayers when things took an ugly turn and terrorists stormed the university campus. Post the dreadful attack Musazai was scared and had lost all hope thinking that her life had ended.
"After the attack in 2016, I had lost hope for a while and I was too scared. I thought I won't be able to go back to the university and continue my education. I didn't even want to leave my home because I was scared of the situation," Musazai told ICPFJ.
She further lamented how her mental well-being was also affected due to the sequence of events and that she feared for her family's safety.
"Even mentally I did not feel good and I had sleepless nights. Not just myself, I was scared for my family too. Whenever any of my family members would leave the home, I would pray for their safety and due to my physical problem I had to spend the entire day at my home," she said.
Narrating her ordeal Musazai further said that she was bed-ridden for a long time as both her legs were affected- one due to polio and another inflicted with a gunshot wound. "I had to move with the help of my hands. In the beginning, it wasn't easy for me. So, I had lost hope. I thought life has ended there," she explained.
However, she bounced back to life as her family's encouragement helped her regain hope and motivated her to pursue education further.
"I thought I wouldn't be able to go back to university if my family would not want me to, but when they believed in me, I believed in myself. I started believing in myself, when my friends and family encouraged me and always told me that you are brave," she said with a smile.
Musazai further talked about how Afghans feel lucky to have India as a friend. "Afghans love India because of the support the Indian government provides them, like giving scholarships in education and investments in Afghanistan. We are lucky to have India as our friend."
Musazai has become a symbol of hope and women power and has often been referred to as the 'Malala of Afghanistan' for her fight against extremism and determination to achieve more for herself.
Malala Yousafzai, is a Pakistani activist who met with a similar fate as Musazai as she was attacked by a Taliban gunman on her way to school and later became a strong advocate of women's education and wo recieve the coveted Nobel Prize.
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INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE PROTECTION AND FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS