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Refugee in Milwaukee leaves legacy of fighting for women's rights in Afghanistan

Posted at 10:06 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-05 14:02:12-05

MILWAUKEE — Maryam Durani left a legacy of fighting for women's rights in Afghanistan, and now calls Milwaukee home.

"The Taliban came and everything changed," Durani said.

Four months ago, Durani fled Afghanistan after the Taliban seized the capitol of Kabul.

She was among nearly 1,000 Afghan evacuees to call Fort McCoy home. Since then, she's moved into a home on the south side of Milwaukee.

"I'm feeling comfortable now. I'm feeling freedom," she shared.

The feeling of relief is new to Durani. She played a major role in women's rights in Afghanistan. She founded an organization that empowers women to take on new roles.

"The Taliban, the first time they came, they said women cannot work with the media," she said.

She says her work did not sit well with the Taliban who wanted to suppress Afghan women.

"They called me and said I will kill you," Durani shared.

She says those threats continued for more than a decade, but they only pushed her to do more and further her reach by creating a radio station.

"Ladies need to have communication with other countries about experiences and knowledge of women," she said.

Her work, not only reached Afghan women, but earned her the International Women of Courage award in 2012.

"I have more dreams," Durani said.

Those dreams flourished into a new role for her in Wisconsin - doing what she has always done.

"Making it a better world for women, ladies, and girls," she said.

She is doing that by working with Hanan Refugees Relief Group.

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