As the last (but certainly not least) of our 20 People to Watch, we would like to honor Shamila Kohestani. Overcoming incredible adversity in her native Afghanistan, Shamila was denied education under the rule of the Taliban government. After the taliban fell, Shamila began playing soccer, and through it, was able to visit the United States. Her eventual position as the captain of the first Women’s Afghan National Soccer Team led her to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in Los Angeles. During that trip to the U.S., she had the opportunity to attend the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership program in New Jersey. While at the program, she met a teacher from Blair Academy who convinced the school to provide a one year scholarship to Blair, a leading boarding school in New Jersey. And from there, with help from the Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund, she received a four year scholarship to study at Drew University, in New Jersey.
Since that time, she has shared her story with schools all over the country, inspiring students with her courage. We're sure that the her story is far from over. We're happy to recognize her as one of our 20 People to Watch.