May 26, 2023
I first heard Shabana Basij-Rasikh share her moving story on 60 Minutes, and I knew I had to have her on Chatter that Matters. You will soon hear why National Geographic named her their Explorer of the Year. Shabana calls herself an ordinary Afghan woman, but I see her as a hero of immense courage and fortitude and one of the many brave women defying the tyrannical rule of the Taliban.
What we take for granted, Shabana and others risked their lives for. At age 6, defying the Taliban's desire to commoditize women, Shabana disguised herself as a boy to attend secret schools with her sister. They faced constant threats, the risk of acid being thrown at them. Their teachers could be beheaded.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Shabana seized the chance to freely study in her home country and then the US. While studying overseas, Shabana co-founded SOLA, an all-girls boarding school in Afghanistan.
In 2021, as the Americans withdrew, violence escalated, and the Taliban quickly seized power. Shabana had hours not weeks to move her school. She burned records and led a dangerous evacuation of 256 girls, families, and faculty to Rwanda, the only country that would accept them.
Shabana’s story exemplifies the transformative power of education and the resilience of the human spirit.
Shabana’s story will move you, and if you have children in school, the content is not only safe but worth it for you to listen to it together.
Amanda J. Devison, Manager at RBC's Commercial Banking Advisors, joins the show to share her journey of being raised by a single mother with a biracial background and how her context and passion led her to organize the BPW Canada delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Conference.
SOLA - School of Leadership Afghanistan - https://www.sola-afghanistan.org