A Traumatizing Journey

Riaz Ludin: A Traumatizing Journey

Mr. Riaz Ludin is currently pursuing a master’s degree in early childhood education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Mr. Ludin is originally from Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan. He grew up and completed high school in Kabul. He says, “my parents are my role models. My father was illiterate but highly valued education.”

He says, “my father believed that education was the only way out of the enduring miseries of Afghanistan.” He instilled that mindset in his children from their early childhood. Since childhood, Mr. Ludin would go to school and simultaneously mentor children from his immediate neighborhood. He says, “I was amazed and excited by children’s learning capacity and how they are quick to solve problems and navigate challenges. I was captivated by their social and emotional capacity for learning.

” It was something that would drive Mr. Ludins’ passion for the years to come. 

Mr. Ludin decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education and become an educator. After passing the entrance exam to higher education, he received a BA in English Language and Literature from Kabul Education University. He found joy in teaching. During his undergraduate education, he continued to teach on a part-time basis. It was a fulfilling career that he wanted to pursue and further advance. 

Mr. Ludin realized that there is not much literature and books on early childhood education in Pashto and Dari languages in Afghanistan, especially on social and emotional learning. As a passionate teacher, he decided to dedicate his life to contributing to the field of early childhood education. He wanted children to realize their dreams and be the architects of their freedom through this.  

Mr. Ludin found that the United States has advanced scholarship and resources for early childhood education and that it was paramount to study there through the Fulbright Fellowship program. With the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Mr. Ludin attended the Fulbirhgt selection interview online. He got a placment at the University of Chicago. He says, “a giant dream came true.”

Mr. Ludin was excited to start his new educational journey, but the unfortunate events of August 15, 2021, will affect his endeavor. He says, “I felt that Afghanistan is entering once again into a civil war. It was traumatizing to abandon a life dream on the one hand and abandon my family on the other.

Mr. Ludin’s family was incredibly supportive in letting him get out through the evacuation process. He says, “it was a traumatizing experience that is impossible to narrate. One must never have to go through it.” 

Mr. Ludin is still struggling to make sense of the events in Afghanistan last year. Once he arrived in Chicago, he says, “the first day of joining my classroom was the happiest of all.” He feels entangled in what he has left behind and achieved. For him, some tragedies are imprinted and carved in the memories that continue to put us on a spiral of uncompromising thoughts. 

Mr. Ludin plans to continue to Ph.D. in early childhood education here in the United States. He hopes that one day, his chance will come. He will have the opportunity to teach children again. He says, “I will be once again the enlightening voice of the children who aspire to live in peace and tranquility.” 

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