Sonita Alizadeh was born in Herat, Afghanistan under the reign of the Taliban regime. Her family walked hundreds of miles to Iran in the rain and snow to escape. She grew up an impoverished, undocumented, refugee street child in Tehran. Without official papers, she could not attend school until a local non-governmental organization offered assistance; they provided a basic education to undocumented, refugee Afghan children.
At the age of ten, she was sold into forced marriage, but the contract fell through. Six years later, her family again wanted to sell her as a bride. With the help of a documentary filmmaker who had been following her story, they bought her some time.
Witnessing the injustices of the world, her friends swiftly disappearing as they were forced to marry, and fearing her own future, she wrote the song “Daughters for Sale.” With the aid of the Iranian filmmaker, a music video was recorded, and she was soon offered an opportunity to attend school in the US, so she fled.
Her story can be viewed in the award-winning documentary by Rohksareh Ghaemmaghemi which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, titled Sonita. (Sign up for a library card if you don’t already have one and then you can view it!)
She has been privileged to be named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinkers of 2015, BBC’s 100 Women of 2015, an Asia Societies Game Changer of 2017, a 2018 MTV Generation Change Award recipient, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 and featured by CNN, NPR, BBC, Buzzfeed News and over 150 publications in 20 countries.
More than 12 million girls are forced to marry as children every year, she hopes to aid in finding a solution to the problem—to help save the lives of the next generation.
Today we talk about her life, her music and her dreams.
Sonita’s Instagram Account
Sonita’s YouTube Channel
Today’s show was engineered by Ian Seda of Radio Kingston, with a little assist from Manuel on some file editing.
Our show music is from Shana Falana !!!
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