Originally posted on TED Blog:

ShabanaBasijRasikhFrom age 6 through age 11, Shabana Basij-Rasikh risked her life to go to school. The Taliban had banned girls in Afghanistan from studying at universities and other educational institutions and, thus, Basij-Rasikh dressed as a boy, posing as an escort for her older sister. Together, the two would place their books in grocery bags and sneak off to a secret school.

[ted_talkteaser id=1666]

“Each day, we took a different route so that no one would suspect where we were going,” says Basij-Rasikh in this powerful talk. “The school was in a house, more than 100 of us packed into one living room … We all knew we were risking our lives — the students, the parents, the teachers.”

When the Taliban fell in 2001, Basij-Rasikh’s father was thrilled that his daughters would be able to return to a traditional school. Still, says Basij-Rasikh, her family’s commitment to education…

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