"My dreams are shattered"
UNICEF ‘Changemaker’ Hadisa reflects on her two lost companies and the future of her sister’s education
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – When Hadisa was 18, she founded SearchPath, a recruitment company which placed over 350 candidates into jobs and provided training and skills development for over 2,000 girls.
But one company was not enough for Hadisa. She also founded TechBano when she was 20, an IT company based in Afghanistan which developed websites, databases and mobile applications. TechBano also provided several full-time jobs and internship opportunities for female university graduates.
Hadisa is now 24 and studying for her Master of Business at Willamette University in the United States.
In July 2021, UNICEF engaged Hadisa in the “Changemakers” initiative, aiming to amplify young voices, encouraging girls like Hadisa to speak up and speak out on issues that affect her.
One day a month, Changemakers like Hadisa took over UNICEF Afghanistan social media platforms, giving a platform where she could highlight the importance of sports and education for young girls, discuss equity for young people with disabilities, and more.
“The Changemaker initiative was a great way for me to share my experience with a bigger audience,” recalls Hadisa. “I used the UNICEF social media platforms to encourage other young people to be active changemakers as well.”
Unfortunately, after August 2021, Hadisa was forced to close TechBano and SearchPath, following security restrictions for women and limitations on women-run businesses.
“Losing these two businesses was the worst time of my life,” lamented Hadisa. “The most difficult part was telling my employees that we could not keep them.”
The loss was especially painful as Hadisa is the eldest child and financially supported 11 members of her family. Closing her companies had a detrimental impact on them.
“I do not have a source of income to support my family now."
"My dreams are shattered; I have no idea what my future – or my sister’s will look like.”
Hadisa had planned to finish her MBA in the US, return to Afghanistan, and use her new skills to improve her companies’ performance.
Now, her mind and heart are with her family in Afghanistan. Her younger sister, Eda, was supposed to study in grade 10. But Eda cannot go to school as classroom doors are still closed for female secondary students. When Eda found out she could not study anymore, she cried the whole night.
“I called Eda the next day and both of us could not speak. We cried instead,” recalls Hadisa. “We were both in such deep sorry that we hung up the phone without talking further.”
Despite the worries she has for her family members, Hadisa is determined to keep helping other Afghan youth to learn, especially girls. She conducts remote learning sessions and conferences to guide them on how to get scholarships and study abroad.
“In the future I hope to see all of Afghanistan free, where all people can live without fear of losing their lives or their rights,” says Hadisa.
“I hope Afghan girls can gain back their rights to education, work and travel.”