“Every moment, I think about how to help my people, especially the women of Afghanistan. I have spoken many times with our school’s international manager to find scholarships for Afghan women for in-person and virtual classes. I just want to find opportunities for them to study. I hope with my education, I can make a significant difference for peace, security, and economics in Afghanistan and all over the world.”

My name is Zakera Azizi. I was born in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. At that time, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, and everyone was afraid of their rules. My family didn’t have a son, so they decided to dress me in boy’s clothing. After the fall of the Taliban in 2002, I was one of the millions of children who started going to school, and I graduated from high school in 2010. I was accepted at the economic department of Balkh University, and I graduated in 2015. At the same time, I began my professional career in 2013, and I started working with the municipality governments as an intern and field implementation assistant. I worked closely with municipal officials and assisted them in advocating for women’s involvement in municipality leadership. After the project ended, I started working as a technical and revenue assistant at Balkh Municipality. I also worked with the nonprofit, Sanayee Development Organization. In 2016, I moved to Kabul, and started working on USAID and Afghanistan Ministry of Defense projects until the collapse of our government. After Kabul fell, I was evacuated from Kabul to Doha, Doha to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to New Jersey, and New Jersey to Virginia. In Virginia, I was awarded the Global Crossing Airline Scholarship for the University of Miami’s Harbert Business School, and I started my master’s program in international business.

- Zakera Azizi

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