I am a 22-year-old woman from Egypt. I know I am young, but I would like to share my story. I was born and raised in a close minded town in North Sinai. Growing up in a town like North Sinai created many problems in my life. I was never encouraged to have goals or follow my hobbies. I lived my childhood as a normal kid but inside I felt different. I was a dreamer. I had hopes and dreams about how I wanted to live my life. I waited and waited until I saw my chance.
I had to step up and fight for what I wanted when the time was right. My dad didn’t understand me. He didn’t know how to treat me because I was fighting to attend college. I struggled to convince my parents to let me attend a university outside my town. My parents refused. My dad stopped talking to me, and my mom remained neutral. My chance came when I turned 17. In my society, a young adult can make decisions without their parent’s approval. My parents could no longer control me.
I applied to Cairo University. I prayed and prayed, hoping destiny would smile on me. My dream finally came true when my application was accepted to attend college at the University. I felt victorious.
I was forced to face my family who was unhappy with me. They did not want me to go to school on my own. They believed it was wrong. I argued with them and tried to show them why I wanted to learn and experience life. I could not convince them about my dream. I didn’t listen to what they said and left home to go to college.
I graduated with my degree and came back to my small town to face their closed minds again. I came back a new me. I now knew freedom and had learned different things. I was 21 years old and began to struggle with my family again. I shared my dreams and goals with my parents but they only cared about me getting married. I was at the age where they felt a woman should get married but I didn’t believe marriage had a required age. I wanted to start my career and travel the world. This life was my dream. I will keep fighting to achieve my dream.
I ignored the people around me who looked at me like I was a guilty sinner because I chose to leave a close-minded town. I want to encourage all women. Don’t give up hope, keep fighting for your dreams and make your plans. We can do it!