Kagame hosts Shabana, co-founder of girls’ boarding school in Afghanistan

On 16 November 2021 at 05:01

President Paul Kagame has received Shabana Basij-Rasikh, the Co-founder and President of the School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA), the only boarding school for girls in the country which has relocated temporarily to Rwanda.

Shabana,31, comes to Rwanda two months after her school relocated to Rwanda due to political chaos that engulfed the country as Talibans took power.

A total of 250 girls from the school arrived in Rwanda on 24th August 2021 as they await the situation to normalize.

Their relocation was facilitated by different countries including Qatar, the United States of America (USA) and Rwanda as the host country.

Talibans regained control of Afghanistan on 15th August 2021, 20 years after they were removed from power in a US-led military invasion.

Since then, citizens started fleeing the country fearing likely violence that could arise from political instability.

At the time, Shabana reiterated commitment to keep striving for women’s rights in her country.

Born and raised in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan; Shabana finished high school in the US through the State Department’s Youth Exchange Studies program. She attended Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating magna cum laude in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies in 2011. In 2016, Shabana was awarded an honorary doctorate from SOAS University of London.

While at Middlebury, Shabana was awarded a Davis Peace Prize, with which she built wells in the outskirts of Kabul—and was selected as one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women of 2010. She also received the Vermont Campus Compact 2011 Madeleine Kunin Public Service Award for outstanding leadership and service to others.

While still in college, Shabana co-founded School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA), whose mission is to provide access to quality education for girls from across Afghanistan. SOLA is the only all-girls boarding school in the country.

Shabana has also served as the National Gender Mainstreaming Advisor at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development’s National Solidarity Program in Kabul, but left the position in 2012 to focus on SOLA full time.

In addition to leading SOLA, Shabana is a global ambassador for Girl Rising, a call to action seeking investment in girls’ education worldwide. Among others, she was named one of National Geographic’s 2014 Emerging Explorers, and one of CNN International’s Leading Women of 2014.

In 2018, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani awarded Shabana the Malalai Medal, one of Afghanistan’s highest national honors, for her work in promoting girls’ access to education.

President Paul Kagame has received Shabana, co-founder of girls’ boarding school in Afghanistan which recently relocated to Rwanda.