Suraya Pakzad

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Suraya Pakzad in 2008.

Suraya Pakzad is an Afghan activist. She started Voice of Women, an organization that helps women in Afghanistan. In 2008 she received the International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. Department of State.[1]

Life[change | change source]

Pakzad was born in Herat, Afghanistan. She received a degree in literature from Kabul University in 1990.[2]

When Pakzad was 12 years old, she saw a gunman kill the headmistress of her school. A few weeks later, a bomb hit her school and killed a girl in her class.[3]

Work[change | change source]

Suraya Pakzad (right) in Kabul 2009

Pakzad started Voice of Women in 1998. Its main office is in the city of Herat, but it has other offices in three provinces. The organization continued during the time of the Taliban rule, mostly in the city of Kabul. The organization helps women with housing. It helps women who get out of jail, women who run away from violent men, and girls who run away from forced marriages.[1]

During the time of the Taliban, the organization had secret schools for girls in Kabul. After the end of the Taliban in 2001, Voice of Women was the first women’s NGO to register with the new government.[4]

In 2014 Pakzad started a women-only restaurant in Herat Province.[5]

Awards[change | change source]

  • International Women of Courage Award, 2008, U.S. State Department.[1]
  • National Medal (Malali Medal), 2008, President of Afghanistan.[2]
  • "Time 100" most influential people, 2009.[6]
  • Women, Power and Peace Award, 2009.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "International Women of Courage Award Ceremony: 2008".
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Suraya Pakzad - Voice of Women Organisation (Afghanistan)". Archived from the original on 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Two Afghan women among recipients of new Women, Power and Peace Awards".
  4. "Voice of Women (VWO) - Insight on Conflict". Insight on Conflict. Archived from the original on 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  5. The Morning Call (29 November 2014). "Sen. Bob Casey supports Scranton Restaurant in Afghanistan - The Morning Call". Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  6. "Suraya Pakzad - The 2009 TIME 100 - TIME". 30 April 2009.