Yama

Afghan Delegation, 2003
Seeds of Peace Fellow, 2016

IMPACT: SOCIAL

Mobilizing Afghan Seeds to transform conflict in their communities.

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

At Seeds of Peace, I had the opportunity to explore my hidden potentials for making a positive change in my life and in the lives of people around me. This realization drove me to choose a different academic and career path than the one I had originally envisioned. I recently completed my MSs in Political Economy of Violence Conflict and Development. I have returned back to my country, Afghanistan, and I am aiming to utilize my experience in a way to contribute to the development and stabilization of my country.

How are you impacting your community?

I pursued an undergraduate degree in Economics and International Relations in the United States and obtained my MSc in Political Economy of Violence Conflict and Development from University of London. I have worked in several capacities across different countries, including the US, Turkey, and the UK, and I currently work for the World Bank. With Global Partnership for Afghanistan, I worked as a strategic analyst at their New York Office. Following that, I joined the International Strategic Research Organization in Ankara, Turkey, as a research fellow, where I conducted research on economic development and security in Afghanistan. While completing my Master’s degree in London, I worked at the London International Development Center as a Communication Officer. I also worked with the Middle Eastern Consultancy Services in London conducting research on the political and economic situation in Afghanistan.

I am using my GATHER Fellowship to mobilize the critical mass of Afghan Seeds who have had the chance to take part in the Seeds of Peace experience and enable them to actualize their potential. I believe Seeds have excellent ideas about how to address certain pressing social challenges, including child labor and war orphans. I work with these young Afghans to set them in the right direction so they have more options to choose from as they grow up. Child labor, or street labor, has become a very common way of earning food. Kids engaged in these forms of activities rarely attend school or gain basic literacy.

We are therefore implementing a child-focused model guiding street children towards a prosperous future that is tailored to their specific needs. We are working to ensure these children capitalize on their talents, get the basic reading and numeracy literacy which will lead them to safer jobs.

Through spending time with these children in a learning environment we aim to understand the fundamental factors that drive these children to work on the streets. This understanding can come only by providing these children with the opportunity and environment where they can openly express themselves. Currently, there is a severe lack of such an understanding which can form the base for the design of effective interventions in this area.

EDUCATION

• BA, Connecticut College (2010)
• MA, SOAS – University of London (2012)