Elaha Mahboob is a first-year CIPA student who is concentrating her studies on Science, Technology and Infrastructure Studies. While in college, she and her sister Roha founded Afghan Citadel Software Company, the first female-owned IT business in Afghanistan. Later, they co-founded a nonprofit organization called Digital Citizen Fund (DCF). You can read more about Elaha here.
After finishing my first semester of study at CIPA, winter break was a great opportunity for me to focus mainly on my organization Digital Citizen Fund (DCF), along with related projects. DCF aims to educate women and children in developing countries via digital and financial literacy programs. This winter break, I participated to some events, visited Silicon Valley companies and also had an opportunity to attend the UN Security Council Meeting on Afghanistan in New York City.
One of my roles at DCF is to mentor and advise the Afghan girls robotics team, which is the first all-girls robotics team from Afghanistan and was founded by DCF. The team and I were invited to attend the Raw Film Festival event in Santa Barbara, California. The Afghan Girls Robot Team won the Permission to Dream Award at this Festival, which was a great pleasure for all of us that they recognized our work and efforts as innovators and change-makers.
We also had the opportunity to visit with some powerful Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Twitter and Pixar during our visit in California. In our visit to Google headquarter, we met with Google’s Robotics team as well as Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter who is one of our foundation’s greatest supporter and donor.
In January, my sister and I had the opportunity to meet with the Netherlands’ Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. André Haspels. We discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and how we can bring change by focusing on economic development and providing job opportunities for the younger generation. It was a great honor for me that our work and efforts in terms of empowering women and giving them access to education and technology was recognized by Mr. Haspels. He shared our story in a statement to the Security Council on Afghanistan on January 19. You can see the video here, which includes an interview that we gave.
Among other things, Mr. Haspels said, “Roya and Elaha remind us that we need to invest in young Afghans. After all, the future of the country will depend on the prospects that Afghanistan can offer them.”You can read the full speech here.