Why Fawzia Koofi is Extraordinary

Why Fawzia Koofi is Extraordinary

Fawzia Koofi was left to die as an infant just because she was born female. She grew up grateful for her life, however, and she studied hard and earned a degree in Afghanistan. Fawzia broke barriers and challenged the norms; as a result, she became the first Afghan woman to ever hold the position of Second Deputy Speaker of the Afghan Parliament.

Releasing Two Books

She authored “Letters to my Daughters,” a memoir dedicated to her two teenage kids, Shuhra and Shaharzad. It chronicled the significant daily battles she faced as a single mom and female politician in a country as oppressive as Afghanistan.

Another book followed: “The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future,” co-written with Nadene Ghouri. Below is an excerpt:

"They often try to kill me.

Recently they have tried even harder than usual to murder me, threatening my home, tracking my journeys to work so they can lay a bomb as my car passes, even firing on a convoy of police vehicles that was supposed to protect me. One recent gun attack on my car lasted for 30 minutes, killing two policemen. I stayed inside the vehicle, not knowing if I would be alive or dead when it was over.

I know the Taliban and those others who seek to silence me for speaking out against corruption and bad leadership in my country will not be happy until I am dead.

But on this day I ignored the threat. I have ignored countless similar threats, because if I didn't, I could not do my job.

But I felt the threat. I always feel it. That's the very nature of threat, and those who threaten know that.

I awoke my eldest daughter, Shaharzad, who is twelve, at 6:00 a.m. and told her that if I didn't come home from this trip in a few days, she was to read the letter to her ten-year-old younger sister, Shuhra. Shaharzad's eyes, full of questions, met mine. I placed my finger to her lips and kissed her and her sleeping sister on the forehead as I quietly left the room and closed the door.

I regularly tear myself away from my children to do my work, despite knowing I might well be murdered. But my job is to represent the poorest people of my nation. That purpose, along with raising my two beautiful daughters, is what I live for. I could not on that day, and will not ever, let my people down." (SOURCE: NPR)

Fawzia was selected as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in 2009 and was re-elected in the parliamentary elections the following year. She will run for Afghanistan’s highest political seat in 2018.

Top Reasons why Fawzia Koofi is Extraordinary

  1. She survived being left under the sun to die [as an infant].
  2. She is the first female in her family to finish school, and she earned a Master's degree.
  3. She is the first Afghan woman to be elected as Second Deputy Speaker of the Parliament.
  4. She was elected Member of the Parliament by a total of 69 female members of the Assembly.
  5. She worked for UNICEF as a child protection officer before she joined politics.
  6. She is an advocate for children's and women’s rights.
  7. She authored “Letters to my Daughters.”
  8. She co-authored “The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future” with Nadene Ghouri.
  9. She will be the first-ever woman to bid for Afghanistan’s presidential seat in the nation’s history.
  10. She is a proud single mother of two teenage girls  

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