- Region: Asia
- Conflict-Affected Area: Afghanistan
- Position: Founder and President
- Organization: Kandahar Treasure
- Expertise: Democracy, Political Participation, and Governance
As founder and president of Kandahar Treasure, the first women’s private enterprise in Kandahar, Rangina Hamidi provides economic opportunities for 400 Afghan women to improve their own lives through traditional embroidery work. She was formerly the manager of the Women’s Income Generation Project with Afghans for Civil Society, a grassroots organization dedicated to the social development of southern Afghanistan. In addition, Ms. Hamidi initiated and moderated weekly women’s meetings and coordinated social programs and activities for all women of Kandahar. Ms. Hamidi now believes that women are the only group that can help bring peace to Afghanistan. “But without economic independence,” she says, “Women have no power to talk to warlords, religious extremists, or politicians.” Ms. Hamidi escaped her native Afghanistan in 1981, at the age of four, during the Soviet occupation. She moved first to Pakistan and then, in 1988, to the United States. Settling with her family in Virginia, she earned a bachelor’s degree in 2000 in religious studies and gender studies from the University of Virginia. She returned to Kandahar in 2003 and has since been internationally recognized for her work with women, selected as one of 18 finalists for the CNN 2007 Hero Award, and chosen as a “Personality of the Week” by Radio Free Europe in January 2008.
Last Updated: January 2009