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Educating Afghan Women

When Sola Mahfouz was 11 years old in Afghanistan, she was forced to stop going to school when religious extremists threatened her life if she continued seeking an education. She spent years doing domestic work at her family home while her brothers were able to go to school everyday. She knew that knowledge was the only way she had a chance at a life outside the confines of her home, and decided to secretly educate herself online. Everyday after she finished her chores, Mahfouz learned English and math from American websites. Mahfouz was eventually accepted to Arizona State University for college and escaped Afghanistan to pursue a degree in quantum computer science. The now 27-year-old is dedicated to advocating for girls in Afghanistan who are barred from accessing education. Mahfouz has teamed up with Khan Academy to create educational resources and a safe digital space for women in Afghanistan to come together, read, write, and learn about the world. She is also working with teachers around the United States to build a curriculum that educated American students on the plight of women in Afghanistan. As a published author, Tufts University researcher, and human rights advocate, Mahfouz wants to use her success to help other young women in Afghanistan educate themselves and achieve their dreams. 


Image via Tufts University 


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