Habiba Sarabi

Afghanistan


Mrs. Habiba Sarabi was born in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh. She grew up in a lower-middle-class household where boys were preferred over girls. She had to work hard enough to show her family that she is as capable as her brothers. This hard work paid off and soon Mrs. Sarabi entered medical school in Kabul and later received a fellowship to India from World Health Organization. She ultimately graduated with a degree in hematology. 

In 2005, a few years after the fall of Taliban regime--a regime known for bringing policies that took many rights from women--Mrs. Sarabi was appointed as Provincial Governor of Bamyan. This was a historic moment for Afghanistan, as not that many years ago women were not allowed to even go to schools. During her time as a Governor of Bamyan, Mrs. Sarabi promoted the cultural heritage of the ancient city. She also established the Band-e-Amir National Park of Afghanistan in Bamyan and, for that, Time Magazine recognized her as Hero of the Environment.

This success came in spite of personal struggles and instability because, as many others during the Taliban Regime, Mrs. Sarabi was forced to flee to Pakistan in 1996 with her children and had to leave her husband and the rest of her family behind. Mrs. Sarabi might have been away from her homeland, but she did not sit idly by. Mrs. Sarabi worked at many humanitarian organizations during her stay in Pakistan. She started secretly teaching in refugee camps, mainly teaching to girls. Her passion for girls’ education and women’s empowerment was felt through out her career. Later on the hard work paid of and she became the General Manager of the Institute of Learning in Karachi, and also the Vice-President of Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan, a civil society organization. After the fall of Taliban regime, Mrs. Sarabi did not only serve as the governor of the Bamyan but she also served as the Minister of Women’s Affairs and the Minister of Culture and Education. She later became the advisor on Women’s Affairs and Youth to the Chief Executive Officer. 

Mrs. Sarabi is one of the female deputies of High Peace Council, at this very important mission to bring security and peace to Afghanistan. Previously, women have been involved in peace movements in their communities; however, women’s participation in peace negotiation has been excluded. Msr. Sarabi does not only serve this particular purpose; she also brings her interest in women into peace negotiations. Mrs. Sarabi’s participation and membership in this immensely important council will bring changes and make it easier to gain justice for human rights abuse, shape more inclusive reforms, and bring positive changes to the public institutions. Moreover, it will bring the interest of Afghan women to the table and prevent compromises on their rights. Mrs. Sarabi is a hope for the women of the nation; they feel more positive about their future because there is someone who honestly and fully represents them. 
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