“I live in Tajikistan, and I graduated from law school two years ago. In my country, women are primarily engaged with family, and few of us pursue higher education, especially in the legal sphere. My stepfather, who is a pastor and School Without Walls (SWW) graduate, helped me a lot in both my career and my faith. He shared with me that SWW taught him that Christians need to hold influential positions in society so we can positively impact our country. That is why I decided to become a lawyer," said Madina, who is not pictured for security reasons.
“During my final year at university, I also joined the SWW program, and my favorite part was getting to participate in Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) events. During one of these events, I heard the story of William Wilberforce, a British lawyer and politician who helped lead the abolition movement against slavery. I was particularly moved by these words that John Newton spoke to William: ‘Use your position for the glory of God.’ I was so inspired that, after graduating from university, I started working with local churches to provide ministry training for Christian lawyers.
“Today, persecution against the church in Tajikistan is becoming stricter. For example, recently my friend’s son ran into church to say hi to his dad during a worship service, and the local authorities who were there reported the incident to the Ministry of Religious Affairs. In our country, children are not allowed to participate in worship services, so now the church is facing a lawsuit, and my friend is worried that the church will be punished because of her son. We are struggling against a powerful government system, but God is on our side.
“I am grateful to SWW for shaping me into a leader and fighter. I am also grateful to NGPLI for connecting me with international Christian lawyers who support me in the midst of religious persecution. I believe that we can help make religious freedom the norm in our country, and that children will be able to worship God with their parents as the gospel is openly preached. With God’s help, we will continue to fight for this future.”