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Samar Esapzai

SesapZai Blogs

About SesapZai

I am a Pashtun-Canadian woman who is very passionate about international development and humanitarian issues around the world. I consider myself an artist of sorts, and I am currently pursuing my doctorate (Ph.D.) in International Rural Development, focusing my research on gender and development (GAD) and the empowerment of rural Pashtun women.

I am also an active member of the Pashtun Organization for Women (POW) — a non-profit organization dedicated to helping and empowering Pashtun women, living in Afghanistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Our aim is to build schools, micro-credit programs, development programs and liaise with various humanitarian organizations like the United Nations, for example, to help aid in the social and economic development of women.


Since the aftermath of the quake, social media platforms have become the primary means of communication for survivors, aid workers, various agencies, and even the government. Facebook’s Safety Check application has also been quite effective in connecting those that are still missing in Nepal...


I am not a huge fan of the Oscars... However, this time, the Oscars took a different turn; they actually became interesting. More and more celebrities were seen talking about rights... the speech that heightened the most interest and controversy was that of Patricia Arquette...

Black day

My daughter, who is 16-months-old now, also kept waking up crying in the middle of the night... I shockingly read tweet after tweet, depicting the tragedy that had suddenly befallen my beloved homeland, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa — more specifically, my beautiful and tortured Peshawar...


In an open letter to Walmart, Samar Esapzai echoes the views of many in expressing horror at their Halloween 'horror' costume: "You mentioned in your description... “shock your friends with this Islamic costume,” which clearly explains to me that you are stereotyping...


My friend — a fellow Pashtana — currently lives in Capetown, South Africa — one of the most beautiful places on earth. Yet, what she saw while going about her busy life there was quite heart-wrenching. With her permission, I decided to share her write-up on my blog too... I know I couldn’t stop thinking about it


The #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft hashtags are even more important now than ever, because it gives a voice — and a very loud one — to women who have managed to remain silent for so long.


Be there for them when they need you; talk to them, as communication is key; and ensure that you set the best example for them so that they will grow up believing in the beauty of equality and in the beauty of true love and happiness. The ball’s in your court, dear fathers of the world.


'Teknonymy’ is the practice of referring to parents by the names of their children... Its origin in the Pashtun culture may perhaps be on account of the tribal custom of Pashtunwali, where women were seen as the main authority, especially in the household arena,


The name of that brave 15-year-old boy was Aitzaz Hasan and that fateful tragic incident occurred when he and two of his close friends were on their way to school... Learning about Aitzaz’s death struck an even deeper chord within me, especially now that I am a mother myself...

Woman holds hand over mouth

I come from a society where when a woman gets raped, or sexually assaulted/molested in any way, she is more than often blamed, if not always.


What many of us have misconstrued is that the ‘We are all Malala’ slogan was never meant to isolate Malala as the sole young woman who had suffered, for we all know and are very well aware that there are countless young women, like Malala Yousafzai, who are suffering and dying on a daily basis in the hands of not only misogynistic barbarians, but also due to war, health and maternal issues, natural disasters, poor economy, bad governance, etc...


Being a woman in any given society, whether it may be within South/Central Asia or in the West, there are often triggers of distress and tension, and the constant battle with one’s image and appearance that plays over and over again in a woman’s head like a broken record.

We live in a world where, right from the time we are born up until we die, we are told that our body defines us