Despite being uprooted twice from her home in the Afghanistan capital, Kabul, 25-year old Sonia Ziaee has taken the major disruptions to her life and education in her stride. She is now studying for three semesters at Flinders University with funding from the Peace Scholarship Plan.
War in Afghanistan and subsequent tensions with the Taliban regime twice led Sonia’s family to seek refuge in Pakistan, where she completed her schooling.
After returning to Kabul in 2002, Sonia found work training Afghan women in basic computing before taking up an opportunity with software systems firm CISCO to travel to the United States to gain a qualification as an instructor. On her return to Kabul, she established a training program for young women in computing, before taking up a procurement position with a security and logistics firm.
Sonia is studying International Business and Accounting topics at Flinders, and hopes to extend her stay to complete her degree. She also keeps up with her current role as cost controller for the 700-strong company in Kabul via phone and internet links.
While she has ambitions to pursue postgraduate education in America or Europe, Sonia sees her future very much in Afghanistan.
“We have very limited opportunities for businesswomen in Afghanistan: I want to be one of the first,” Sonia said.