Born in a country that has endured a combination of armed conflict, widespread poverty, and social injustice, 2015 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® graduate Masooma Sadat Hashim sought to bring light to the severely crippled education healthcare system for the youth of Afghanistan. 

Masooma used her creativity and determination to push past social barriers in her hometown, earning a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Kabul University in 2008. Along the way, she also gained certification in personal training and mathematics. Armed with these tools, by 2009 Masooma had established the first women’s nonprofit sports organization, called the Alzahra Cultural & Sports Association (ACSA). “My mission is to create a gathering place for Afghan women to share and solve their material and spiritual problems through theoretical and practical sport and cultural training,” said Masooma. 

Designed to improve the cultural awareness of women and men on women’s rights in society, Masooma emphasized the necessity of executing upcoming generations’ rights and well-being. The resilience and fortitude of the Afghan people, such as Masooma, are extraordinary. Without the ability to dream, innovate, celebrate, push against social norms, and demonstrate goodwill remained a constant motivation to expand her hand across the globe to Vancouver, Canada. “I moved to Vancouver to study marketing management at BCIT College to increase my knowledge,” said Masooma. With the encouragement and help of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program, Masooma learned to become a self-confident leader in her community. 

The ongoing conflict and political instability of Afghanistan made it difficult for Masooma to receive the proper education to fight for the right to adequate education and health. Facing significant challenges compared to men in her country, and females in other parts of the world, illustrates Masooma’s fortitude, all the while promoting equality as essential to alleviating Afghan women’s plight and encouraging their full participation in society to help empower their country. “Afghan women need to start businesses in difficult conditions and be self-sufficient to mentor those around them,” said Masooma. 

Without women like Masooma, society within Afghanistan would not be as enlightened. Education and willpower are what it takes to get future generations out of the darkness of oppression. They will empower future leaders to build the skills they need to control their destinies. In a country that could easily fall through the cracks, local leaders like Masooma and fellow PTB students and alumnae have the capability of rebuilding a pathway to a more sustainable community.