A Carer and Activist 

Shakila H

Shakila was born in Bashsood, a village in the central highlands of Afghanistan outside of Bamyan, in 1980. Six years later, when Soviet forces were attacking the area, she and her family moved to the suburbs of Tehran, Iran. Iran was encouraging education for all children at the time, so Shakila completed high school and nursing training. In 2004, in an effort to encourage the refugees to return home, Iran began to deny education and work permits to Afghans, so the family returned to Afghanistan, choosing to live in Kabul because of greater opportunities for jobs and education.

Shakila found a nursing job at the hospital in Bamyan and worked there first as a nurse and later as a translator for the International Midwifery Assistant training program. When that job ended, she rejoined her family in Kabul and began working as an Assistant Program Manager for the 10,000 Women’s, Business Training Program at the American University of Afghanistan.

Inspired by her work, Shakila began studying business management. Her dream is to support Afghan women entrepreneurs and to start her own business.

In April, 2009, Hamid Karzai signed The Hazara Marriage Law, which among other things, would require women from the Hazara ethnic group to get their husband’s permission before leaving the house, and which not allow women to refuse their husband’s requests for sex. Shakila was among those who organized and participated in a demonstration against the repugnant articles of the law.

Profile and pictures provided to us by and copyrighted to Peggy Kelsey, of Kelsey Photography taken from her book “Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women” 


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