The 7th and 8th grades were visited today by Shabana Basij-Rasikh. Shabana shared that as a young girl in Kabul, Afghanistan, her parents, strong advocates for education for girls, dressed her as a boy in order for her to walk freely in the streets and secretly attend a school for girls. This was at great risk of death by the Taliban, which controlled the city. Shabana spoke to the students about her passion for education: “When you educate girls, you educate boys, too. For those girls become mothers who then have sons and share with them a passion for learning for all.” She spoke passionately about students as leaders and told our students that they need to know that their work can change the world.
Eventually, Shabana came to the United States to attend Middlebury College. On returning to Afghanistan, she founded the SOLA (School of Leadership Afghanistan), a boarding school for girls. Students are taught in English and many find sponsorships to help continue their education in Europe and the United States.
We were happy to host Shabana today and her message served as an incredible reminder of the freedoms we enjoy in the United States — both in terms of educational opportunities and opportunities for girls and women. She encouraged the students to travel and begin to get a perspective on their own lives by building their relationship to the whole world, and not just their town or country.
The following shares some of the stories from the young women at SOLA –