Sadiqa Basiri Saleem


“Peace cannot be brought by weapons, by fighting, by bombarding people and nations and losing lives. Peace can only be made by educating people, by empowering people. That’s why I am so committed to brining education to women and girls in Afghanistan.”


Sadiqa Basiri Saleem was a refugee living in Pakistan when the Taliban shut down her school. When she returned home to Afghanistan, she found thousands of girls who had been denied an education. Together with three other women, Sadiqa transformed an abandoned mosque into a school for girls.


Threats poured in, but her Oruj Learning Center flourished. Today, Sadiqa runs 6 schools and 4 literacy centers. She started the first Afghan community college for women and opened the Family Welfare Center for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a domestic violence prevention project that serves 14,000 women, trains government workers and engages spiritual leaders in safeguarding women’s rights.