A BUSINESSWOMAN IN HERAT (WITHOUT VOICEOVER)
Independent Films, Politics
Roya Mahboob runs the most successful software development company in Herat, as well as run an NGO for women. But her path to success has been dogged by opposition and threats from those who don't want to see Afghan women working outside of the home.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 4 April 1949.
NATO constitutes a system of collective defense in response to an attack by any external party.
The NATO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium.
Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
Close to the border of Iran, the historic city of Herat, famed for its monuments dating back to the age of Timor Lane and his daughter-in-law, the famous female Afghan leader, Gorharshad
“She is a symbol to all Afghan women, who want to be successful to achieve their goals and their vision.”
Roya Mahboob is one of those who's realised her vision. A refugee in Iran until 2003, she started out volunteering in French NGO that specialised in media. From there she put herself through university, got herself a computer sciences degree and now runs the most successful software development company in the city, of which over half the employees are female.
If that sounds impressive, she's done that in the face of opposition from conservative attitudes and repeated threats over phone and email.
The first time, actually, I was afraid of this message, because I thought it might be from the Taliban's side. But later when these messages continued and then I thought, I don't think so the Taliban has good English conversation. Or that they could all the time be sending emails. I thought that maybe Taliban have other works to do.
She also drives to work – an extremely rare sight in Afghanistan, where very few women drive.
“They are giving warning and sometimes making are making problem and calling to my cell phone and they are saying, 'ok, you should stop driving or you shouldn't work with the foreign people'.
Her firm, the Afghan Citadel Software Company is currently working with a local hospital, helping them shift from paper to digital records.
And the NATO Silk Road project, that brought reliable internet to Herat University used her company extensively.
As well as running a successful business, Roya runs an NGO for women that helps widows earn a living weaving carpets.
“We used to pay them 2 dollars a day to weave, but now they can sew by themselves and sell their goods.”
But her success has not just attracted negative reactions towards Roya. The women she works with have also been threatened, and in one case in a very 21st century way.
“Of course there is some problems. I remember one person, he send me some message or something like this to he will hack our website, the Citadel website. The first time he hacked our website, but the next website we created, he couldn't.”
But Roya's reassurance towards their parents and the company's success means their families have accepted their jobs, despite the risk and even support them.
When my father saw my video on YouTube, he was very happy and he didn't believe that I made that video and the title is with my name, Suzanna, that is the director. And then I made him believe in me.
And key also to that support is the male workers who work alongside them and believe in Roya
“Maybe someone think how that feels when a woman is the CEO of a company in Afghanistan. I think that's good because before, maybe many years ago, no people think ever that a woman manage a company.”
A modern pioneer like Roya will always have to work harder to fulfill her dreams. But with drive like hers, it's hard to see how she won't find a way.
Year of Production: 2011
Country: United States