In August 2021 when the Taliban took over the Afghan government, I met a young woman through a series of emails. She was one of the hundreds of students who reached out to me for help. As she graduated from the American University of Afghanistan, (AUAF) she, like many of our students, were targets of the Taliban. I was completely uncharted territory in trying to evacuate students, and quite frankly, not a successful one in August 2021. It took over a year to have our first student arrive in the United States. This is the story of an extraordinary woman who made it to France in 2023.
A Student that Left an Impression
L in particular stuck with me, and her well-being weighed heavily on my conscience. We had opportunities to get her into Uzbekistan at the beginning of the evacuation, but I advised her to wait for the formal process. As quickly as I made that recommendation, the border closed to Afghans. So essentially her window closed. I personally felt responsible that this exceptional woman had made the wrong choices due to my advice.
One day when it is safe, I hope that we can share L’s journey over the past 2 years. Much of it is harrowing, and when I think about it, brings me to tears to think about what she went through. I am praying for the day though that her family is granted asylum and we can fully share her story.
After 20 months of corresponding over WhatsApp and video, L and I reunited in Paris. It was emotional and surreal to say the least. Recently, L was recognized at her business school at their annual awards dinner. You can see a glimpse of her inspiring story, which is only a fraction of what an exceptional human being this woman is.
GITW played a very small part in L’s journey to Europe. We were mentors, but your contributions played a critical direct part in her safe passage. This is the work we do at GITW, and what your contributions make possible. We are committed to continuing to assist women who want to pursue their graduate education. Make a difference with us here.
Galavante in The World (GITW) is a 501c3 that focuses on education, women’s rights and humanitarian projects around the world. Since August 2021, GITW has supported over a dozen Afghan women and their families to pursue their graduate studies in resettle in Europe, Canada and the United States.