Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse by Suraya Sadeed
The True Story of a Woman Who Risked Everything to Bring Hope to Afghanistan (Voice)

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Synopsis

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From her first humanitarian visit to Afghanistan in 1994, Suraya Sadeed has been personally delivering relief and hope to Afghan orphans and refugees, to women and girls in inhuman situations deemed too dangerous for other aid workers or for journalists. Her memoir of these missions, Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse, is as unconventional as the woman who has lived it. This is no humanitarian missive; it is an adventure story with heart.

To help the Afghan people, Suraya has flown in a helicopter piloted by a man who was stoned beyond reason. She has traveled through mountain passes on horseback alongside mules, teenage militiamen, and Afghan leaders. She has stared defiantly into the eyes of members of the Taliban and of the Mujahideen who were determined to slow or stop her. She has hidden and carried $100,000 in aid, strapped to her stomach, into ruined villages. She has built clinics. She has created secret schools for Afghan girls. She has dedicated the second half of her life to the education and welfare of Afghan women and children, founding the organization Help the Afghan Children (HTAC) to fund her efforts.

Suraya was born the daughter of the governor of Kabul amid grand walls, beautiful gardens, and peace. In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, she fled to the United States with her husband, their young daughter, their I-94 papers, and little else. In America, she became the workaholic owner of a prosperous real estate company, enjoying all the worldly comforts anyone could want, but when a personal tragedy struck in the early 1990s, Suraya seriously questioned how she was living and soon sharply changed the direction of her life.

Now, in Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse, she shares her story of passion, courage, and love, painting a complex portrait of Afghanistan, its people, and its foreign visitors that defies every stereotype and invites us all to contribute to the lives of others and to hope.

 

About Suraya Sadeed

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Suraya Sadeed was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, and immigrated to the United States after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. She founded Help the Afghan Children in 1993 as a response to the humanitarian crisis she witnessed on a trip to her home country during the height of the Afghan Civil War. Since then, Suraya's work has been recognized and honored at the highest levels of government in both Afghanistan and the United States. She has appeared on such programs as the Oprah Winfrey Show and NBC's Weekend Today Show, and her story has been written about in Reader's Digest and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, as well as in a film documentary 'Inshallah, Diary of an Afghan Woman, produced for the Oxygen Channel. In March of 2006, Suraya was recognized by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the White House for her work in Afghanistan.
 
Published June 21, 2011 by Hachette Books. 300 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse

Kirkus Reviews

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"For the cost of one [American] bombing run," the author writes in this hard-hitting debut memoir, "I doubtless could have fed and clothed and cared for those 100,000 displaced Afghan refugees.

Jun 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul ...

The Guardian

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When the Afghan communists took power in 1977, two years before the Soviet invasion, Suraya Sadeed – daughter of the governor of Kabul – was in Beirut with her husband.

Jul 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul ...

Publishers Weekly

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In a well plotted, fluid narrative co-written with Damien Lewis, the founder of the charity Help the Afghan Children (HTAC) chronicles her long, arduous journey from impecunious Afghan refugee to the

Apr 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul ...

The National

Suraya Sadeed, founder of the charity Help the Afghan Children, centre, negotiates the delivery of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

Jul 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul ...

DNA

The burkha-clad Suraya Sadeed attempts to smuggle $35,000 into Kabul with the help of two colleagues.

Jan 27 2013 | Read Full Review of Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul ...

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