Leading the way for Afghan women and girls

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Leading the way for Afghan women and girls

About the speaker
  • Athifa Wathanyar
    Athifa Wathanyar
    Afghan Women's & Girls' Rights Activist
    Athifa Wathanyar is an advocate for women's rights and education, as well as a medical student and educator. Her career has been dedicated to providing educational opportunities to Afghan girls, particularly from the Hazara community, a minority group that has faced persecution. In May 2021, Athifa survived a violent terror attack at her school, which tragically claimed the lives of more than 90 students and left over 250 girls injured. Despite the Taliban's restrictions on girls' education, Athifa continued to teach young girls secretly, inspiring them to believe in their dreams and futures. Along with her two younger sisters, Athifa became a leader in the women's rights movement, advocating for fundamental freedoms for all women and girls in Afghanistan. Her peaceful protests were met with extreme violence, prompting her to flee to a nearby country where she was granted humanitarian protection by Portugal. Athifa, a proud mother of two, aspires to resume her medical studies while requalifying as a mathematics teacher, all while remaining dedicated to the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Key takeaways

For Wathanyarm good leaders are responsible, kind, and uphold good values - ethical and compassionate leadership is essential.

The speaker's motivation for her actions, including teaching, stems from her desire to create a better future for children, especially girls, in Afghanistan.

Leadership is a challenging role that requires setting an example and being a role model for various aspects of life, including family, community, and professional endeavors.