Board Member Inspiration: Spojmie Nasiri

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We Have Hope Foundation was founded in 2018 to provide educational opportunities for Pashto speaking children in Afghanistan and around the world. Education is the most valuable asset to finding solutions for empowering the Pashtun youth and easily accessible online education is a an absolute necessity for Afghanistan to develop as a nation. We Have Hope Foundation is an organization driven by the idea that technology can be used as a vehicle of peace by its ability to provide Khan Academy's world-class education to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Spojmie and her brother

Nearly half of Afghanistan’s children with an estimated 3.7 million are out of the educational system due to the ongoing conflict and worsening of security situation throughout Afghanistan. For more than three decades of war and conflict, Afghanistan’s education system has been devastated. For many, education is a distant dream, especially in rural Pashto speaking areas of Afghanistan despite recent efforts to raise student enrollment for children ages seven to seventeen. The lack of educational opportunities has inspired me to create We Have Hope Foundation to empower the Pashtun youth. Education has been the driving force towards pursuing my achievements and dreams, but it has also been the force behind the personal hardships I have endured during my childhood. 

It has been thirty-four years, yet I still remember vividly at the age of five walking at night through the mountains of Afghanistan to avoid the Russian warplanes during the Afghan-Soviet war in 1980. After traveling for several agonizing nights, my family and I would finally reach safety across the Khyber Pass. A short time later, two of my older siblings and I were sent to Germany in order to have better educational opportunities while my mother and two younger siblings stayed behind. While living in Germany, I yearned for my mother and at times felt overwhelming sadness, and anxiety, but never lost focus of my studies. Two years later, I moved to the United States with my father and siblings. During this time, I continued to communicate with my mother and I never deviated from her advice of pursuing my education or taking it for granted.

Early on during her childhood, my mother, who grew up without a formal education in a remote village in Afghanistan she saw the value of education as the key to success and security for her children. She had gone to extreme lengths to ensure that her children obtained academic success. My mother gave up a part of herself to insure the prosperity of my siblings and sent us abroad to obtain the best educational opportunities the world had to offer. Her selflessness, sacrifice, discipline and intelligence is something I am grateful for and the reason for the person I am today. As a mother, I cannot imagine sending my own three children across the world without knowing if and when I would be reunited with them. After enduring years of heartbreak without my mother, I was finally reunited with her in 1988.

As I reflect back on my childhood experiences, it is my mother’s sacrifices for her children to obtain an education and her untimely death from stomach cancer in 2006 that are a constant reminder of why I need to continue her legacy and use it as an inspiration in doing all I can on behalf of the Afghan children. This is my inspiration for creating We Have Hope Foundation.