Firstie Focus: Sara Ajmal Safi ’21

Photo of Sara Ajmal Safi ’21

High school: Beaconhouse School System (Defence campus)

Home country: Kabul, Afghanistan

Possible majors: economics and computer science

Political efforts: Standing on the footsteps of the Parliament of Afghanistan, I could imagine all that it could be, and that fostered my passion to continue what King Amanullah Khan couldn’t pursue during his lifetime. Being given the opportunity to participate in the Parliament of Afghanistan served as a stepping-stone towards my goals. Though Afghans notoriously discouraging women from working, within the walls of the parliament building, both men and women work together for national prosperity.  

One of my major concerns is social injustice, not only towards women, but also those who identify with other gender identities. I was a witness to brutality when I worked in the Youth Health and Development Organization under the National Aids Control Programme in Kabul, where a majority of the patients identified under various sexualities. I was able to gain insight into this forbidden world and how these people were treated. In collaboration with the transgender representative at Akhuwat, I started to gather donations to aid the transgender community in Pakistan. This work has instilled in me ceaseless compassion towards this cause.

Boxing prowess: Boxing is very close to my heart, not only because of my love of combat sports, but because it gives me the strength to free myself of the shackles that imprisoned me in this dangerous — supposedly only for females — world. I am not weak anymore. I have competed against many competitors inside and outside my club. My first boxing competition was held at a university in Lahore. I distinctly remember  how petrified I was. However, I could not afford to disappoint my coach, who had invested his time and energy in me, as well as all the people who were cheering on the sidelines. Rather than the gold medal that I was awarded at the end of the match, I was happy for another reason, for I had earned something far more valuable: confidence and self-esteem! 

A noteworthy talent: As someone who is always absorbed in efforts to prove myself as worthy as any man, hairstyling served as an escape. For a few moments, I could be myself, connect to my feminine side, and be proud of it.

Proudest moment: When my father said, “I am proud of you, my daughter!”

Why MHC: To stand on the ground where the struggle for the education of women was at last won will be a privilege like no other. Education in an environment that revolves around this cause, and is run and led by women, will assist me in the promotion of a likewise community back in my homeland.

First impressions: As a nature lover, I was most attracted to the vastness and greenery of the campus, initially. I visualized that I could find places to spend some time in peace, away from the hectic world, whilst enjoying the beautiful sceneries.  

How are you spending the summer: I came back to Kabul where most of my family lives to spend some time with them and make some memories before I depart on this journey.

Career aspirations: I intend to work and expand the business my father started with little or no education or skill at hand. I plan to utilize entrepreneurial opportunities in Afghanistan, as it is an emerging market with many openings, eventually joining politics.

The most important thing in my residence hall room will be: My stuffed monkey, Gulbudin’. Yup, that’s his name.

Favorite book: “#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso

Favorite movie, music: “The Pursuit of Happyness” and HIM, Linkin Park, Evanescence, James Blunt