Shabana Basij-Rasikh: Dare to educate Afghan girls
Shabana Basij-Rasikh was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. Under the Taliban, she dressed as a boy to escort her older sister to a secret school — with dire consequences if they were caught. She attended a high school in America under the YES exchange program, and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont. During college, she founded HELA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Afghan women through education. She also raised funds through foundations and public talks across the US to build a high school for girls in her ancestral village, and to build wells on the outskirts of Kabul to give communities access to clean drinking water.