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Inspiring Stories

As the Afghan government fell to the hands of the Taliban on 15th August 2021, a devastating setback for women in the civil society and education sector began. Women and young girls across the country have ever since been protesting for their rights against the oppressive regime. While the world leaders are seen to have abandoned the cause, there are still groups and individuals supporting the rights of Afghan women and girls using the very resources available.

Aleena Turekian, a 12-year-old girl, is an excellent example of that. Frustrated with the turn of events in Afghanistan, Aleena believed she had to take matters into her own hands. Heartbroken at the sight of the injustice subjected towards Afghan girls, she decided to start the “Afghan Girls Book Club,” where she helps her new Afghan female friends to continue learning through book reading.

Already aware of the educational challenges of Afghan girls over the past year, as her dad helped a number of Afghan families get out of the country this summer, the idea of starting this book club crossed her mind. As she got to know the young girls her father had helped get evacuated back in 2021, her motivation to strengthen the cause of female education increased. She finds the career goals of her young Afghan friends to be the driving force behind her efforts. “I know how important it is for them to have access to education for these careers,” Aleena said.

She also uses her platform to help her friends to connect with similarly exceptional young individuals. “I also wanted them to feel connected to each other because they are now so far away from what they knew,” Aleena said, reflecting upon the hardships of her Afghan friends’ lives that have been displaced.

Aleena’s inspiration comes from resilient female figures such as Yalda Hakim, best known for enabling and empowering young women across Afghanistan and those displaced.

Yalda Hakim Foundation is committed to bringing about the voices of Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and those displaced. The foundation also seeks to platform those working to empower these women and girls. Considering the hardships Afghan women have endured since the collapse of the former government, humanitarian workers everywhere, like Aleena Turekian, represent a stance in solidarity towards reclaiming women’s rights and civil liberties.

Note: Yalda Hakim Foundation encourages you to share your stories of helping your journey for Afghan women’s rights. Contact us via

Let us all be part of the solution!