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An Afghan Mother and Presidential Candidate

Fawzia Koofi says she copes with the pressure of being a female politician in Afghanistan by spending time with her daughters. She’s seen here in May 2012. Source: CNN Photo: AP/Getty Images 2012

A baby girl was placed outside the hut, where her mom spent 30+ hours in labor, minutes after her birth.  Overwhelmed with disappointment that their new daughter was not a son, the parents felt that by wrapping her in a cloth and placing her in the sun, ‘nature would take its course.’  Today, that baby girl has become a woman who is now the mother of two and running to be the first woman president- of Afghanistan.

Fawzia Koofi writes her two daughters letters before she leaves the house.  “Today I am going on political business to Faizabad and Darwaz. I hope I will come back soon and see you again, but I have to say that perhaps I will not. First, Don’t forget me.” She tells her girls the importance  of school, “A girl needs an education if she is to excel in this man’s world.”

“All of us human beings will die one day,” Koofi writes. “Maybe today is the day I will die. But if I do, please know that it was for a purpose.”

While her daughters are too young to remember a time when girls could not attend school and women were murdered freely if they shamed a man, Fawzia does and she wants a different Afghanistan for her daughters, who are some of her biggest supporters.

Fawzia was the first woman in Afghanistan who was elected to parliament.  On her second day she put in her name for Deputy Speaker.  It was bold and unexpected; her role in parliament was not to be significant.  Her daughter, at the time 6 years old, promised her mom she would gather 100 school children to come a wave flags so that she would be chosen for the position, and she was.

This women who is on the road to becoming president of Afghanistan has walked a path that many of us could only imagine.  CNN  covers her story, her bold past and the strong choices she makes.  You can also read her memoir, The Favored Daughter: One Woman’s Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future, available on Amazon.

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