Sakena Yacoobi

2004 Women's Rights Prize

Laureate Profile

After receiving a Master’s Degree in Public Health in the US, Sakena Yacoobi returned to her native Afghanistan, where she began working with Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. She established a grassroots program within the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and within a year had quadrupled the number of Afghan girls enrolled in school. Professor Yacoobi and her staff managed five women’s programs serving 17,000 refugees. In 1995 Professor Yacoobi founded the Afghan Institute of Learning; under her leadership, AIL quickly grew to be one of the largest women-led, non-governmental organizations in the country.