Letter to the United Nations by Shegofa Shahbaz

I am writing this letter on behalf of all Afghan girls. I am Shegofa Shahbaz. I am twenty years old. I grew up among the dust and smoke of explosions, gunshots, fire, war, and sad stories. I grew up with fear. Fear of an explosion inside our classroom, fear of not seeing my family again, fear of losing my friends, and fear of losing my dreams. Beside all those sad stories in my life, I had a hope for a better future, but when the Taliban took the control of Afghanistan, my dreams were destroyed.

What We Left Behind by Libby Bachhuber

My mind keeps returning to an image of myself sitting in my chair at the office—my therapist chair—in March 2023. Only the dim winter sun and the murmur of passing cars filtered in through the window on my left. Inside, the air purifier hummed. The couch across from me had been left empty when my patient stood to leave a few minutes before. I had closed the door behind her, then moved to my desk to retrieve my phone. Anticipating an unscheduled hour, I’d returned to my chair and lit up the screen, searching without thinking.