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Surviving Intense Hardships using Refugee's Method

One of favorite Empowering conversationZ guests was Homa Taghizadeh a woman born and raised in Afghanistan, the country that women’s basic rights should be fought for. Not only Homa’s story is an inspiration to women who don’t believe in themselves but also highlights the role of men in their daughter’s self-esteem.

Below are some of my takeaways:

1.No doubt Homa had a difficult life journey; 4 migrations, life as a refugee, fighting stereotypical female role as someone born in Afghanistan, etc. While she faced many obstacles, she counts each experience as a blessing in disguise and a valuable lesson that lead her to be where she is in life.

2. When I asked Homa about ways to maintain positivity through the toughest times, Homa shared Dalai Lama’s strategy of surviving long imprisonment.

"When the prison guard looked at the cell’s darkness, his holiness focused on the light coming through the window. So train your mind to look at the light instead of the darkness in any situation."

3. One of the biggest sacrifices Homa made in life was to quit her education and save her mom in Afghanistan. Leaving behind her dream career was not a simple decision, but showing up as a strong woman for her ailing mother and her sisters was more valuable. She wanted them to see they don’t need a man to survive and, as a woman, they can be independent. The independency with its own costs and drawbacks, but she doesn’t regret her decision.

4. Looking back though, Homa wished she had invested in her education rather than focusing on financial independence during her early days as an immigrant. She encourages our audience to accept the struggle, be ok with less money, and invest in their long-term career development.

5. When I ask Homa about cultural integration, she encourages our audience to accept their feelings about their culture. In fact, “not everything in your culture is good”. Learn to let them go and to immerse yourself physically and mentally in the new culture “there are many good things in this culture”.

6. One of the most pronounced moments for my audience was listening to the role that Homa's father played in building her self-esteem. Something I observed in Salma's story another woman in Afghanistan who felt capable and confident.

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