Lesson of the Day: ‘“Why Was I Born a Girl?” An Afghan Poem Inspires U.S. Students’

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Lesson of the Day: ‘“Why Was I Born a Girl?” An Afghan Poem Inspires U.S. Students’

3. How did Fariba’s poem find its way to a history class at Canyon Crest Academy, a public high school 8,000 miles away in San Diego? What have the students at Canyon Crest learned from their unique window into life for the Afghan girls? How have the Zoom sessions with the San Diego students affected and inspired the Afghan girls?

4. What risks and dangers do the Afghan students face attending Mawoud, a tutoring center in Kabul?

5. Selena Xiang, a Canyon Crest student, wrote after one of the Zoom calls: “It’s so different from my life, where education is handed to me on a silver platter.” What does reading the article make you think about your own education and learning? Does it make you rethink your ideas about the role of schooling that you wrote about in the warm up activity?

6. What do you think your own school or class could learn from a Zoom with Fariba’s school? What questions would you ask the students? What would you want to tell them about your own life and education?

Option 1: Learn more about life in Afghanistan today.

The featured article tells but one story of the challenging life the people of Afghanistan lead under the return of Taliban rule. Listen to, read or watch one of the recent pieces below from The Times’s continuing coverage of contemporary Afghanistan, or browse The Times’s Afghanistan Topics page.

Then, respond to the following prompts in writing or through discussion with a partner or small group: What new things did you learn about Afghanistan? What was most memorable, surprising, provocative or affecting? What personal connections can you make to the subject matter? How does the article, podcast episode or video you chose deepen or challenge your understanding of the situation in Afghanistan? What further questions does it raise?

Option 2: Write a letter — or poem — to the Afghan students at Mawoud.

Respond to the students of the Mawoud tutoring center by writing a letter or another creative or expressive form, like a poem.

In your piece, you might share your thoughts and feelings upon reading the article and learning of the Afghan girls’ story; how the words in Fariba’s poem affected you; questions you still have about life under Taliban rule; or, about your own life and education. What you say is up to you; but, be personal, honest and brave.