Sadiqa Basiri

Sadiqa Basiri

Founder and President

Oruj Institute of Higher Education


Sadiqa Basiri is a modern-day pioneer in educating girls and women in Afghanistan.  After 18 years as a refugee, Sadiqa returned to her native Afghanistan to support the rebuilding efforts through education in 2002. She has established six primary schools and four adult literacy centers in rural areas where girls didn’t have a school before and trained over 180 teachers on pedagogy. She opened the Family Welfare Center for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a domestic violence prevention project that has served over 14,000 women, trained government workers, and engaged spiritual leaders in safeguarding women’s rights.

After receiving a B.A. in international relations from Mount Holyoke College in 2009, Sadiqa returned home and founded Afghanistan’s first women’s community college to train women in management, leadership, and advocacy skills. She later transitioned the two-year program to Afghanistan’s first and only non-profit social enterprise four-year degree-granting college, Oruj Institute of Higher Education. Over 900 young men and women across Afghanistan receive low-cost, quality higher education in Kabul.

In addition to her work with Oruj, Sadiqa has assumed decision-making roles with several other local and international organizations such as the University of Calgary, University of Massachusetts, Afghan Women’s Network, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and Ottawa Newcomers Health Center in Canada.

For her work, Sadiqa has received numerous honors from various organizations, such as the Vital Voices Global Partnership, Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts Teachers’ Association, and Huntington Public Service Award. She has a master’s in communication from the University of Ottawa and a master’s in advanced teaching from the University of the People. She is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Western University in Canada.


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