Habiburrahman Ibrahimi | Institute for War and Peace Reporting
I was born in Qalat City in December 1977 into an open-minded and largely educated family. My father went through higher education in electrical and technical subjects and runs a workshop for the ministry of education. I have one brother.
I graduated from Ansarolmomenin high school in Wardak province in 1995 and entered the law and jurisprudence faculty of Kabul University. After two years of study, I had to leave for various reasons – one of the main ones being that I was the breadwinner of the family.
I began working with IWPR in Kabul in 2001 as a freelancer and from 2002 onwards took part in a number of workshops. I have worked with a large number of Afghan and foreign media outlets since then. I was a reporter for IWPR from 2003-2004, when I joined the Pajhwok Afghan News Agency but I still write for IWPR also.
I have three sons and two daughters and have lived in Kabul for 15 years now.
Before becoming a journalist, I worked with a reconstruction NGO and at the ministry of justice in charge of the press and cultural centre for education and children’s matters.
I chose journalism because I wanted to be able to help put right the wrongs I see around me – in Afghanistan and the wider world. I was always interested in listening to the radio and still have that same intense interest in the news.
I learned my journalism from IWPR workshops and training programmes and have written many articles for IWPR since 2001.
The serious attitude conveyed in the IWPR workshops and by the trainers has helped me a lot. IWPR would also pay me while I took part in the workshops and prepared reports, which eased the financial burden.
To me, the job of a journalist is difficult and carries a great deal of responsibility.
My happiest memory is the day my first report was published on the IWPR website. I could not wait to tell my family and friends. In those days many people here did not really understand the internet and would ask me many questions.
I am most proud of an IWPR report I wrote about police extortion towards peddlers and shopkeepers. I interviewed police officers, asking them why they did it, and they said the government did not pay their salaries. The ministry of interior affairs blamed the ministry of finance. After my report was published, however, the police were paid salaries going back a year and the police commander of Kabul at the time, Basir Salangi, told me my report was crucial in that decision.
I also wrote about the transport problems of Afghans on the Haj, the Muslim pilgrimage, to Saudi Arabia for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Afghan station, Radio Azadi. The pilgrims had spent all their money and were stranded. They demonstrated, demanding the government of Afghanistan send planes to bring them back. As the report was published, the Afghan government rented planes from the United Arab Emirates and brought all the pilgrims to Kabul. The minister of Haj and Muslim Endowments, Nematollah Shahrani, told me that he had been unable to accelerate the process of the pilgrims’ return, but my work as a journalist had reached the president and other officials and the problem was solved.