A woman who was born an Afghan refugee is flying around the world to inspire other women to follow their dreams.
Shaesta Waiz, 29, started her epic flight in a small, single-engine plane from the US where she now lives and recently arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, reports BBC.
To come back to the country as a pilot who is flying around the world to inspire others - it makes me really happy.”
Waiz told reporters she was excited to be back in Afghanistan. “It’s been almost 29 years.
According to the biography on her website, Waiz was born in a refugee camp and travelled to the US in 1987 with her family to escape the Soviet-Afghan war.
She says she grew up in an underprivileged area of Richmond, California, and it wasn’t until she discovered aviation that she started thinking about going to college and having a career.
“When I was a little girl I thought maybe I would go to college, but I would get married at a young age and have a family. But then I found something that I really loved and that’s flying,” she told a news conference in Kabul.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be the pilot of your own aeroplane and to fly wherever your heart desires. It’s a passion that I really enjoy, that I protect, and that I want women from Afghanistan to experience as well.”
She founded a non-profit organisation called Dreams Soar and wants her flight around the world to help inspire girls and young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education.
Waiz says she is the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
She also says she is the first female certified civilian pilot from Afghanistan and by the end of her challenge aims to be the youngest woman to have flown solo around the world.