Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | August 4, 2012

Razia Jan

As I was whining about carrying heavy bags from the supermarket on a cloudy Saturday morning, I came across the story of Razia Jan. She was  born in Afghanistan in the 1940s and then traveled to the United States in 1970 to attend college. The Russian war in Afghanistan killed much of her family. Jan stayed in the U.S., raised a son and opened a small tailoring business. She became an American citizen in 1990.

Life changed dramatically for her post 9/11. The human suffering caused by fellow human being affected Jan and she turned her shop into a workshop to help the victims. While meeting people post 9/11, she felt the tremendous disregard among people for fellow Muslims and that is when she decided to return to her homeland in Afghanistan to make a difference.

On the outskirts of Kabul, Jan runs a school for little Afghan girls. While initially and even now she faces tremendous opposition from a male dominated Afghan society but she thinks slowly but surely things are changing. Until this day, her school has been providing education to numerous Afghan girls and yes, undoubtedly making a big difference. She says, today a number of fathers of these young girls whom she teaches feel proud that they can read and write.

Surely a woman of substance. The world is not just about war after all.

If you want to read more about Razia Jan, you can read here.





  1. Truly and deeply inspiring, Tanmoy. The only thing that makes me wonder is how, since Razia Jan does not charge any fees, she manages to make a living. Is there some sort of endowment helping her?

    I write now and then about women I respect and admire on my blog. It’s a matter of profound regret that readers hardly seem to notice those posts.

  2. Yes, Suvro — Razia is at the heart of Razia’s Ray of Hope, the nonprofit that funds the Zabuli Education Center. You can find out more here: and stay in the loop via the foundation’s facebook page:

    Thanks for the post, Tanmoy!

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