At the young age of 16, Roya Mahboob came across what she thought was a magic box. It gave her a peep into the world beyond her homeland of Afghanistan. Thirteen years later, she is giving the same sense of wonder and awe to many little girls in her country. Moreover, she is making sure that the current generation of girls in the conservative country grow up to as more empowered women.
The journey was not very easy for Roya. The digital revolution has been a part of every person’s life for the past couple of decades. However, women in Afghanistan are denied the opportunity to be ‘digital citizens’. Roya, was, too.
But she persevered to make a career in the predominantly male bastion of Information technology. In fact, she went to be become a co-founder of one of her country’s biggest IT firms Afghan Citadel Software. The company was known to employ women (90% of its workforce is female!) in a country where women are not allowed to work outside homes.
Not content with just this, Roya decided to float a non-profit called Digital Citizen’s Fund. Through this, she ensures that young girls in Afghanistan get sufficient digital literacy. It started with 10 training centres spread across her hometown Herat in 2012, and has now grown to many more cities in the country. Also, the operations of DCF have spread to countries like Pakistan, Egypt and Mexico.
In just four years, more than 9000 girls have learnt computers in centres built by DCF. The girls have made Roya proud, too. Some have become entrepreneurs and employers because of their knowledge of technology while others have become ambassadors of digital literacy among women.
While the world holds her in awe, its not easy for Roya to stay at home peacefully. The conservative elements in the country drove her out of Afghanistan in 2014. Despite all this, she fearlessly plans the next steps in her mission. Her aim is to build training centres in rural areas of her country as well as in other developing nations.
Impressed by Roya’s conviction and work? Here’s your chance to contribute. Follow this link and contribute to their crowdfunding campaign.
PS: Take a look at the coolest rewards a crowdfunding campaign can have!