Pashtana Durrani

Executive Director LEARN Afghanistan

Region(s): Asia, Middle East
Country of focus: Afghanistan, Pakistan
Based in USA


Current Occupation: Executive Director LEARN Afghanistan
Organization/Institution: LEARN Afghanistan
Language: Pashto, English

Pashtana Durrani  (@BarakPashtana ) is an Afghan human rights activist and community development expert who champions the right of women and girls to education. She founded LEARN Afghanistan (@LearnAfg), a non-profit dedicated to innovation in education, health, community resource building with a focus on women, girls and child rights advocacy.

She is a visiting fellow at the Wellesley Centers for Women in Massachusetts since late fall 2021, where she is continuing research to help Afghan women and girls pursue education and support the health of Afghan mothers and babies. She lived in hiding and spoke out against the closure of schools and universities after the Taliban takeover in August, 2021 and fled to United States in the fall.

Pashtana founded LEARN Afghanistan to safely and securely provide education to girls through a distributed network of tablet computers using an offline platform. Through LEARN, she has educated 7,000 girls and boys in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and trained more than 80 teachers in digital literacy. LEARN also focuses on girls’ health, and has trained 700 girls in menstrual hygiene management.

Pashtana was named an Education Champion by the Malala Fund for her outstanding work to advance Afghan girls’ education. She was a global youth representative for Amnesty International and a board member of the steering committee for the Global Environment Facility, an international partnership to address pressing environmental concerns. She is also a winner of the 2021 Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Emerging Leader prize, which recognizes leaders who have addressed complex global challenges in innovative ways. Pashtana Durrani was among the BBC 100 influential women list of the year 2021.