Shabana was born and raised in Kabul, where she completed her secondary education at Maryam High School. After finishing high school in Onalaska, Wisconsin, through the competitive Youth Exchange Studies (YES) program sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Shabana attended Middlebury College, graduating magna cum laude in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies, and studied Arabic and Islamic law at Alexandria University in Egypt.
During college, she founded HELA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Afghan women through education. She also raised funds through foundations and public talks across the US to build a high school for girls in her ancestral village, and wells in the outskirts of Kabul to give communities access to clean drinking water. An enthusiast of systemic change and community impact, Shabana was selected as one of Glamour® Magazine‘s Top 10 College Women of 2010, and was awarded the Vermont Campus Compact 2011 Kunin Public Award for outstanding public service, effective leadership, and community-building. This fall, Shabana joined 10×10 as a Global Ambassador, participating in television and radio interviews in support of the global action campaign designed to bring together nonprofits, corporations, philanthropists, policy leaders, global influencers, and grassroots community activists in a movement to support girls’ education. Shabana is currently Managing Director of SOLA (School of Leadership, Afghanistan), a nonprofit that helps exceptional young Afghan women access education worldwide and jobs back home. For more information, visit http://www.sola-afghanistan.org