On June 7, Sakena Yacoobi, 2009 Kravis Prize winner and founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), was honored with the Asia Foundation’s 2012 Lotus Leadership Award. The award recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that have made major contributions to the wellbeing of women and their communities in Asia. At the awards ceremony, the Foundation screened this never-before-seen video of Yacoobi discussing the circumstances under which she started her organization.
“It was scary. If I was caught, or if one of my teachers would be caught, they would be killed because the policy of that time was … no education at all. But we were doing something against the system. Through education, you can really, completely change an entire family. … Through this program, we graduate thousands and thousands of students.”
Yacoobi also discussed the impact and goals of AIL:
“Today in Afghanistan, AIL has reached 9.1 million people. I am proud of that. And when you have the power of people, you don’t have to fight with gun[s]. You can communicate and through understanding, you can really bring peace to Afghanistan.”
She closed with a powerful message: “I will continue this fight because this fight is not finished yet, for the women of Afghanistan.”
Another example of a Kravis Prize winner perpetually fighting for social change.