From Kandahar to Carleton U.

Maryam Sahar Naqibullah (Photo by Alisa Siegel)

Maryam Sahar Naqibullah (Photo by Alisa Siegel)


Her first classroom was a patch of dry land in the desert. An unlikely oasis. But to eight-year-old Maryam Sahar Naqibullah, that's just what it was.

Maryam and the other 12 students, all eager, all of them girls, dressed head-to-toe in their burqas, had walked hours to get there. They sat on little square mats, hand-stitched by their mothers. In Kandahar province. Under the hot Afghan sun. And drank in their first lessons.

Maryam has come a long way since then.

As a teenager, she acted as the only female interpreter for Canadian forces in Afghanistan. And that experience led her here, to Carleton University in Ottawa. It has been a complicated road. Still is. 

But this young woman, now 20, doesn't let much stand in her way. She has just completed her first year at Carleton, where she is majoring in international relations. It's the beginning, she says, of a second life.

Our documentary, "Where I Want to Go" was produced by Alisa Siegel. 

These are some photos of Maryam's journey from Afghanistan to Canada.

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