From the time she could remember, Kamila Rahimi* believed her future would mirror the blighted dreams of all of the other women she grew up with. “I thought that, after going through all of this, I would end up like other women in my village: I will become a house wife and will be busy with the chores around the house.” Although she completed a law degree from the University of Jalalabad, her family was conservative and would not allow her to work outside the home.
Fortunately for Kamila, she married a man who encouraged her to sign up for the USAID Promote Women’s Leadership Development Jawana program, an innovative three-month course that aims to instill young women with the leadership skills necessary to achieve positions of influence within government, the arts and all sectors of society and business.
For Kamila, now 25, the Jawana program was nothing short of transformative. “Through Jawana program, I learned that like male members of society, females also have responsibilities to their country and society, but because of conservative traditions and violence, women are often unable to perform their duty to society and the country.”
Today Kamila is doing both. On October 31, she landed a job as a prosecuting attorney with the Department of the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) unit in Jalalabad Province—the first female to ever hold such as post. The EVAW department is a special unit within the Attorney General’s Office, which aims to prosecute criminal violence against women and girls as set forth in the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women and the Penal Code. Each provincial unit includes two attorneys and one administrative employee.
Kamila is proud to be working for the women of her country. “I always dreamed of being a person who would struggle to defend women against violence, but I was scared sometimes,” she says. “But after attending the Jawana program, I no longer simply dreamed but actively planned: It gave me courage.”
*Name changed for security reasons