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YouTube Channel on At-Home Workouts for Afghan Women

in Afghan Business

YouTube Channel on At-Home Workouts for Afghan Women

Shamila Kohestani, the former captain of the Afghan Women’s National Football Team, has launched a YouTube channel where she teaches physical activities in Farsi to help women in Afghanistan do exercise at home.

There are only a few gyms in Afghanistan and because physical activity is taboo for women, most are not allowed to exercise even if there is an accessible gym. Some of them may be able to join one of these gyms, but they do not have the financial resources to pay the costly fees. There are also a number of women who are able to pay gym fees, but their families may not allow them to leave home to exercise. Other women who have the permission of their families are not willing to join a gym because of security issues.

“Nothing is more satisfying than having self-confidence and being proud of the woman you see in the mirror every day.  I want women and young girls to feel strong and beautiful and learn that muscles are not only for men. I want to encourage women to engage in physical activity on a daily basis, which will reduce their risk of chronic disease, physically strengthen their bodies and build their self-confidence,” says Kohestani.

Kohestani believes that exercise is a way for women to overcome their depression and stress and that it can be easily done at home. Years of war had left many women traumatized who find leaving their homes often emotionally difficult.

“Research has shown that women who participate in sports and fitness programs are healthier, more likely to succeed academically, and better prepared to overcome obstacles in life. Therefore, I want to help the women of my country exercise every day and show them that through sports and physical strength comes the power to be more than you ever thought you could be, and to create more change than you ever thought possible,” says Kohestani.

Photo Credit: The Telegraph

Kohestani is a recipient of the 2006 ESPN Arthur Ashe Award. She is a world-renowned publich speaker and has graduated from Drew University.

Deprived of education and confined to her home, Kohestani endured physical abuse at the hands of the Taliban.

Shortly after the oust of the Taliban, she began to play football, a sport that is male dominated and was socially taboo for Afghan women to play.

In 2006, with the help of the Afghan Football Federation, she was able to continue playing football by establishing and being named captain of the first Afghan Women’s National Football Team. 

“Football changed my entire life. It gave me freedom, confidence and a voice to fight for women’s rights and gender equality. Football provided me with the opportunity for education and connected me to other women around the world who are also fighting for gender equality and the advancement of women in sports. Having experienced firsthand the power of athletics to transform not only my body but my entire life’s potential, my goal is to use the power of sports to inspire and empower women,” says Kohestani.

Kohestani believes that as women in Afghanistan experience the positive changes physical activity generates, they will become more empowered to strive for greater opportunities.

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