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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
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While in power, the Taliban implemented the "strictest interpretation of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world," and became notorious internationally for their alleged treatment of women. Women were forced to wear the burqa in public and they were allowed neither to work nor to be educated after the age of eight, and until then were permitted only to study the Qur'an. Women seeking an education were forced to attend underground schools, where they and their teachers risked execution if caught.
Without equivocation, starting an enterprise to educate women during this time period would not seem like a likely scenario. However, sometimes out of the most extreme conditions, courageous leaders respond with innovation. As Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, explains in this interview with host Sheela Sethuraman, "When you see the need ... you just feel like you have to do something."
In this audio interview you'll hear Yacoobi describe how she founded the AIL, what were key management strategies that lead to its success, and her long term vision for AIL and Afghanistan. An inspiring story for social innovators everywhere, Yacoobi provides proof of how working from the heart with clear objectives can be a powerful source for social change.
Sakena Yacoobi is the founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Afghanistan. Founded in 1995, AIL provides education and health services for more than 350,000 Afghan women and children each year. Her organization works to find culturally appropriate ways to provide education for girls and women, and has trained more than 10,000 teachers.
Yacoobi is also involved in other international organizations for women and children's rights, including co-founding Creating Hope International, working with the International Rescue Committee, and serving as a board member of the Global Fund For Women.
Yacoobi has received numerous awards in recognition of her dedication. In 2004 she was awarded the Gruber Prize for Women's Rights; in 2005 she received the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy as well as being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize project; and in 2006 Sakena Yacoobi received both the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and a fellowship with Ashoka, acknowledging her important role as a social entrepreneur.