During my time as a Bezos Scholar, I had the opportunity to attend the Aspen Ideas Festival, where I met Shabana Basij-Rasikh, the co-founder of SOLA, the only boarding school for girls in Afghanistan. Shabana and I quickly bonded over our shared love of education and the trials we have both faced as women to continue our schooling.
While I’m currently a senior at Central High School in Memphis, Tennessee, I started the first seven years of my schooling in Sanaa, Yemen. In the wake of the 2011 Sanaa Arab Spring protests, my family and I moved to a village in the mountains of Ibb, Yemen. School was challenging in the village. The only transportation available was by donkey, so my sisters and I walked anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour up and down a mountain to get to school, everyday. In 2012, my family and I moved to the United States.
When I started school in Tennessee, I was surprised at how privileged American students are— being challenged to think critically, having computers in every classroom, and the opportunity to take multiple-choice tests! This kind of education was in complete contrast to what I had experienced in Yemen. While I have enjoyed these privileges for the past six years, I can’t stop thinking about how others—especially girls—in other countries aren’t able to enjoy such privileges, like the basic right to education.
Throughout our educational journeys, both Shabana and I have met people who believe that education is unnecessary, especially for girls. Hear us talk about our educational experiences and why we believe that education should be a right for all people, especially women.