Kamila_Sidiqi Afhanistan CEO

CEO and Deputy Chief of Staff, Afghanistan.

Kamila Sidiqi is one of Afghanistan’s leading women leaders and entrepreneurs. Last year she was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff in the Administrative Office of the President of Afghanistan, in recognition for her tireless efforts to develop women’s potential and build Afghanistan’s private sector. In 2014 she was also recognized as a Peace Hero by the Modern Organisation for Development of Education and received a World of Difference Award from the International Alliance for women.

Kamila’s own story came to prominence in 2011 with the publishing of The Dressmaker of Khair Khaina, a book by the American journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, charting Kamila’s rise from dressmaker under the Taliban to thriving entrepreneur. The book was on the 2011 New York Times Bestseller list and is currently ranked in Amazon.com’s Top 100 Bestsellers.

Ms. Sidiqi’s story is one of immense courage and determination. She had graduated with a teaching certificate in 1996, at a time when the ultra-conservative Taliban government wouldn’t allow women to work outside the home. Unable to teach and desperate to support her family, Kamila aged 19, perfected the art of dressmaking and taught her younger sisters to do the same. Her dressmaking business soon thrived and seeking to help other women in her community, Kamila, with the help of her sisters, opened a tailoring school in their home to teach women how to sew and to give them work once they completed their training. At a time of almost insurmountable poverty and economic difficulties in 1990’s, Ms. Sidiqi oversaw the expansion of a thriving enterprise employing over a 100 women.

Today, Ms. Sidiqi runs a group of companies including KBDS, a consultancy firm and the first business development training provider in Afghanistan, Baawar Consulting Group, research and evaluation specialists and Naweyan Naween Import Export Co, exporter of Afghanistan’s famous dry fruit. Early in her career, Ms. Sidiqi established Parneyan Training Center and Rehabilitation Organization, an NGO whose work has helped in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and improving the lives of its people, a cause very close to her heart.

Kamila received international recognition for her work at the 10th Anniversary US Global Leadership Campaign in 2005. She is Steering Committee member of South Asia Women Entrepreneurs’ Symposium.

BASED IN: Kabul, Afghanistan


PBS Newshour, March 2011