Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History, Volume I

Monday, February 11, 2008

This is Sakena Yacoobi. She's an Afghan-born educator.

Born in Herat, Afghanistan, Sakena came to the United States in the 1970s, earning a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of the Pacific and a master’s degree in public health from Loma Linda University. Before returning in 1990 to work with her people, Sakena was a professor at D’Etre University and a health consultant.

While she has plenty of awards for her work with the Hope International and the Afghan Institute of Learning, Michigan based non-profits providing educational and health-related support to regions involved in poverty or external strife, she's on my list of People I Admire because of the work she did in the 1990's in her native Afghanistan.

During the rule of the Taliban, Sakena broke the law to provide educational opportunities to girls. Since it was illegal to educate girls, Sakena and her cohorts conducted school in the basements of volunteers, cramming as many as 80 girls in a small room, there only to take advantage of an opportunity to learn. She risked her life in this endeavor, because there was no doubt what the consequence would of been had she been caught.

So here's to Sakena Yacoobi, who chose to be ill-behaved and courageous, risking her life so that girls might learn to read.

3 comments:

Anne C. said...

Thanks! It's so inspirational to hear about brave women like this.

Jim Wright said...

But, but, I thought all Muslims were terrorists and wanted to kill us?

In fact that's exactly what somebody said to me about two days ago: "You don't know these people, every single one of them wants to kill us!" Needless to say, this person has never actually met somebody from Iraq or Afghanistan, listens to Rush religiously, would certainly view Sakena with hatred and suspicion.

Thanks for her story, Janiece, we need more of it.

Janiece Murphy said...

You're welcome.

Jim, I think if you educate a nation's girls, you've made an investment in that nation's liberalism and future that will pay dividends for many, many generations. It's one of the few things I agree with Oprah on, and I don't believe you get the same return on investment with boys. I think that makes me a bit of a sexist. If so, then I'll live with it in this case.