I am a girl, and I am educated. Even before I started schooling, my parents would sit me down for lessons first in reading and spelling, and then languages, geography, and history. I cannot remember a time when my bedroom walls were not covered in academic posters and stocked bookshelves. My parents started looking at schools for me when I was only three years old, and since then we never looked back.

I realize that I’m probably a special case. I have always taken to academics a bit more than the average person: to this day I proudly call myself a nerd. But that feeling kindled in me when I was so young of incessant curiosity, of wanting to learn more and more and more, is shared by so many girls across the world. Once again though I am a special and privileged case: I have always had the opportunity to learn and pursue anything I want to. While I am stressing about what degree I want to pick when I start university next year, in many parts of the world getting even a basic education is a life and death struggle. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has forbidden girls to go to school, forcing them into child marriages. This is causing a repetitive and dangerous cycle. The girls of Afghanistan need our help to break from it.

To quote Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, females are strong as hell. When armed with the right weapons, we are unstoppable. Women have more than proved we are smart and capable of so many amazing things, but we cannot do any of this unless we are given an education, knowledge, ultimately a career path that will lead to a successful and fulfilling life. My mother often tells the story of how she immigrated from China with only one hundred dollars and made a life for herself. Now that I am older, I realize that is not all she had. She had an education. The girls of Afghanistan cannot make lives for themselves if they are not given an opportunity, no matter how resilient or clever. The Taliban knows this. Girls can be, and most certainly are, so powerful. In taking away their right to an education, the Taliban is stripping these girls of any control and power they have in regards to their lives, their futures, and their society.

With the university education I’m going to get, the world will be my oyster. I’ll get a job and support myself. I will make the world a better place. Then, when I’m ready (and not a second before), I’ll get married and have children. I will educate those children to the best of my ability. They will make the world a better place.

With our help, girls will change the world.

“When you educate a girl, you empower a nation.” – Queen Rania of Jordan