Do you remember what you did when you were six years old? You probably rode a bike, went to elementary school, and had play dates with you neighbor. You were secure in the love of your family, and knew that no matter what, they would have your best interests at heart. Unfortunately, Naghma did not have the same luxuries. At six years old, the Afghan girl's father, Taj Mohammad, married her off to cover his debt.
The family of 11, including 9 children, lived in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul. However, Taj struggled to make ends meet, causing the family to suffer, especially when the brutal winter arrived. When Taj's wife was hospitalized and his 3-year-old son froze to death, he borrowed $2,500 to pay for his wife's medical expenses.
When he couldn't repay his debt, he agreed to let his daughter marry the moneylender's son, who was 19 years old at the time. "It was a difficult decision," Taj Mohammad said after the fact. "Everyone gives away their child but to give Naghma away like that was just so hard." And yet, he did it.
When human rights groups found out they immediately brought in U.S. attorney Kimberley Motley to get Naghma out of the marriage. Taj is overjoyed to have his little girl back and has high hopes for her future. "I'd like to make sure she gets an education and becomes successful." The National Institute of Music, an Afghan school for orphans and underprivileged children, is his first choice for his daughter. The pair, along Taj's son Wakhil, recently toured the school, and have begun to hope for the future of their family.