Last month, Kravis Prize winner Sakena Yacoobi attended a 10th-anniversary gathering of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, where she discussed global issues including peace and reconciliation with religious leaders. According to the National Catholic Reporter, the event in Kenya, “Awakening the Healing Heart: Transforming Communities through Love and Compassion,” was conducted over eight days. Yacoobi shared her thoughts with people including Shomberwa Marina Ntamwenge, president of the Federation of Protestant Women in the Ecumenical Church of Democratic Republic of Congo, and Jessica Okello, general secretary of Pan Africa Christian Women Association.

What’s even more fascinating is Yacoobi’s story. The article provided a synopsis of her amazing journey:

“Dr. Sakena Yacoobi seemed to exemplify the possibilities of the individual against great odds in the extreme. The 61-year-old from Afghanistan came to the United States as a lone teenager just out of high school in the early 1970s at the encouragement of some U.S. Peace Corps volunteers who, she said, recognized that she had potential and that it would not be fully realized in her home country. … She eventually did a master’s in public health at Loma Linda University, and later completed a doctorate in that field.”

In addition:

“Along the way, she worked four jobs simultaneously at times to supplement scholarship money and in 1987, after her family escaped during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to refugee camps in Iran, she was able to purchase a house in Michigan and sponsored 13 members of her family to the United States. Once they were settled, she took off for the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and began collecting the women who sat idly, uneducated, into schools she founded. She’s continued to this day doing that work, under the Afghan Institute of Learning, which she founded. She said she has established hundreds of schools for girls throughout Afghanistan.”

Peace seekers gather on Kenyan plain” [National Catholic Reporter, April 16, 2012]

To find out more about Sakena Yacoobi and Afghan Institute of Learning, go to our page.