It is anything but easy to stand alone when an entire culture stands in opposition. Doors slam in one’s face. Barriers are constructed all around you – many constructed right in your face by those who wish to see you fail. It can be a lonely place. These are the individuals that understand what it means to compete every day. They press forward, no matter the odds against them, knowing that they must lead the way for change. No matter the cost.
History was made May 14.
Niloofar Rhmani, a 21-year-old Kabul native, became the “first female to successfully complete undergraduate pilot training and earn her status as a pilot” (Air Forces Central Command). Niloofar has had a passion for the skies since she was young, but knew the path to being a pilot would be more than difficult. Women are discouraged from the career and many cultural barriers are placed in their way. Yet Niloofar press forward, undeterred by opposition. She knew that if she could break down doors, it would make room for other women to one day fly. It was a mission she could not afford to lose or give up on.
Niloofar spent a year learning English just to qualify for the program and then spent 145 hours in the air. The challenges tough – but never insurmountable. Now she stands alongside her male pilots as a member of the team. Salute to you Niloofar.