I know people often say that if there is no man at home, a woman alone can’t run her family or earn money and get food for her children. But I know strong women in my own neighborhood who have done this.

Sharifa is my neighbor in Kabul and her daughter and I used to go to the same school near my house. Even though she is not educated she sews clothes at home for the neighbors and she’s well known for this. She earns money, and she makes sure her children receive an education and everything they need for school.

She has six children and her husband was killed 15 years ago when her youngest child was one year old. She continues on and makes her way by herself.

I know another woman who had no education and no money to run her family when her husband abandoned her. She’s known most of the time as “the mother of Karima” and she cleans one of the houses in our building. She was 16 when she married, and after having three daughters, one day her husband told her: “I don’t need you anymore, take your children go wherever you want.”

When this happened it seemed all options were closed to her because her family remained in Pakistan after she got married and came to Kabul with her husband to start their new life. Her husband decided to marry again and then said he didn’t need her anymore.

This is an issue in Afghanistan. When a husband tells his wife he doesn’t need her, most women will have to go back to their father’s house because they do not have another option.

But this woman said: “I am not obligated to the men any more. I will neither go to my husband or my father, because one of them sells me and the other one buys me. I am not a dull piece of equipment, only to be used. I will show you that a woman can run her family and can help her family. I will show you that women are strong.”

She worked cleaning houses and washing clothes, through the cold winters and she fed her three children and helped her daughters to continue in school and become educated and taught them that they are not obligated to men. They are their own personalities.

The biggest lesson in my life that I ever learned was from this woman with her three daughters. She taught me that: “the only person that can help you is yourself, no one else.”

I believe that women are often stronger than men. A strong and powerful person is one who can control their anger and stay calm not the one who quickly uses their physical power.

Many women can do this. Women can be strongly determined too. I remember seeing a woman who had no foot but still she was trying to play football. She just wanted to play football.

I know a strong woman who will smile even after she gets hurt 100 times. I know strong women who know how to forget and forgive.

When we see women crying, it is not necessary to think they are weak, but that tears may make them feel a little bit more comfortable. Men may not show people that they are crying, but believe me, men cry on the inside! Often women are thought to be delicate but they are strong enough on the inside.

The women in Afghanistan know how to stand even if they fall down 100 times. They still have hope that one day their lives will turn nice and there will be no more violence against women. Women in Afghanistan have hope for tomorrow and I believe that one day a woman will be the president of this country. Women can change the world.