Strong women were my theme of 2019, and will remain so in 2020

Oh, how I am glad that 2019 is coming to an end. For a moment there, it felt like it would just go on forever, one really long never-ending struggle. Yea, 2019 was exceptionally trying year for me.

For the first time, I found myself in situations that required me give a mature response, to act like an adult and make wise decisions that may not feel good, but were the best options for the “long-term”, cause we are all about long-terms now. I am proud to say that there were times I surprised myself with how I faced and conquered some very challenging moments, but there were also other times when I just let myself go.

It was also the year when I realised how truly magnificent sisterhood can be, and also that women can disempower you just as well. And how important feminist allies are. I also realise what my real tribe is, and I am so lucky to have them and plan to hold them close, ya’ll know who you are ❤

But through all this, one thing that remained a solid constant was my work. I love my job! I am not a workaholic, but I truly do enjoy reporting and writing. It gives me the opportunity to meet some of the best people the universe has to offer, in some of the most difficult situations that the world has put them in, dealing with their issues with as much love and compassion as one heart can muster. It also brings me in close proximity of some of the most unkindest souls carrying so much hate and anger that it makes you wonder how much they must hurt inside. Every story I get to work on is a wondrous experience of the humanity around us.

And the best of this humanity, is female!

I am so proud that of the 87 stories I did this year, 17 were exclusively about women from this region and the amazing work they are doing. Of the remaining, 55 were news pieces, and more than half of these featured women voices and perspectives. The rest were stories of culture, food, children and animals, and nearly all of them, were presented at least one powerful female voice.

Below are some of my favourite stories of 2019:

  1. Inside Mother Camp: the woman tackling Afghanistan’s drug problem

2. In Afghanistan, Replacing Shame With Understanding on the Topic of Menstruation

3. ‘He thought he’d ruin me’: Indian acid attack survivor and model speaks out

4. A Very Happy Viral Video With A Sad Back Story

5. Cafe Culture in Kabul Shows How Afghanistan Is Transforming

6. Afghan minister for mines: As a woman I realise I have to work very hard

7. The forest dwellers fighting to save Mumbai’s green lung from urbanisation

8. In Afghanistan, Combating the Dubious Science of Virginity Testing

9. In Afghanistan, Tattoos Are Markers of Autonomy

10. Dressing Afghanistan: young designers get creative in Kabul

These are just some of the amazing stories I got to work on. To read them all, visit my website.

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Ruchi Kumar

Ruchi Kumar

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Writer. Journalist. Humanist. Based in #Afghanistan. Words @ForeignPolicy @Guardian @AJEnglish @WashingtonPost @Vice Earlier: Web producer @dna @TimesofIndia