In this month’s Encounters we publish The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by New York Times Bestselling author, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Lemmon travelled to Afghanistan in difficult conditions to gather the testimony of women determined to stitch together meaningful lives for their families under Taliban rule—and came across the remarkable Kamila Sidiqi. Here is our introduction to her riveting book.
It is September 1996 in Afghanistan. Kamila Sidiqi has just received her teacher training certificate and is about to begin university studies. But, suddenly, the Taliban take over Kabul. By decree, as a woman, Kamila loses her rights to education and to employment outside the home—and she is forbidden to appear in the streets without a male escort. Her parents are condemned to poverty. As war rages over the city, she and her sisters are virtual prisoners in their home. What can Kamila do to restore their hopes? In the suburb of Khair Khana, she pursues a bold dream of rebuilding her family’s future.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is currently the deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program. In 2004 she left ABC News to earn her MBA at Harvard, where she began writing about women entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Rwanda. Her reporting on businesswoman in these countries has been published by the New York Times Global Edition, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, CNN.com, the World Bank and Harvard Business School. She has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain and a Robert Bosch Fellow in Germany. She speaks German, Spanish, French, and intermediate Dari, and lives in Los Angeles, California, where she spent several years working at an investment management firm while writing The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. She is a member of the International Center for Research on Women’s New Leaders Circle and the Vital Voices Los Angeles Leadership Council.
To visit Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, click here.
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