My name is Hasti, I’m from Aibak in Afghanistan. I am currently the breadwinner of my family. I have an older brother and three younger sisters. We all stay with our parents. My father is a retired bank employee. When I was tiny my mom and I used to visit him at work and I was impressed by the work he did.

I studied accounting at university and decided to follow my dad’s path. My dad helped me find a job as a finance assistant. My younger sisters are still studying in high school and middle school. My older brother has joined the army. That’s why I should have been doing great in my job at work so that I would be paid well.

I had only worked for a year before the coronavirus spread in Afghanistan. Our supervisor said that we had two weeks off due to the situation of the pandemic. He said they would tell us when to come back. I missed my work and prayed every day for our jobs to be available again.

My fathers’ insurance and retirement salary aren’t high enough to supply all the needs in the family. My mom started tailoring and getting orders from neighbors and friends, but my dad couldn’t do anything due to having rheumatoid arthritis. He can’t remain standing for more than a few minutes and says almost everywhere in his body hurts.

We don’t allow my younger sisters to get out of the house because of the virus. They have become depressed and moody. I help them with their lessons and teach them mathematics for their later years. They sometimes sit with my mom and help her out with tailoring.

Finally, six months ago they called from my work saying they needed me back. Since returning to work I’ve been given more tasks than I used to have. For example, keeping the personal files of all the staff updated, supervising and controlling the projects, supporting staff activities, checking uniforms of the guards, writing all forms and letters to the government and other offices, responding to official emails, organizing meetings as needed by the office and handling all communications for the office as the top translator.

The coronavirus made me lose my job at first, but thanks to the skills I gained during the pandemic like learning English and German, developing my computer skills, and reading more books about leadership, I was promoted and I feel more professional and confident.