Shamila grew up in Afghanistan under Taliban rule where she was deprived of an education and confined to her home. While Shamila and her family knew there were severe consequences for families who taught their daughters how to read and write, their dedication and belief in the importance of education overcame their fears, and Shamila studied in secret.
Shortly after the Taliban were removed from power, Shamila began to play football (soccer), a sport that in the country is male-dominated and socially taboo for women. Shamila, found her passion and playing football gave her the freedom and courage to come out of her comfort zone and to fight for what she believed in.
Shamila found her voice and began to fight for women’s rights. With the help of the Afghan Football Federation, she worked to establish the first Afghan Women’s National Football Team in 2007. Shamila was proudly named Captain of the Women’s National Football Team and has said, “Soccer provided me with the opportunity for an education and connected me to other women around the world who are fighting for gender equality and the advancement of women's athletics”. Shamila’s goal has been to inspire and empower all women, she believes that football and other sports unite people from different backgrounds, and promote gender equality.
Website - www.shamilakohestani.com
Twitter - @Sham_Kohestani