When we left off last time, Shireen had returned to Badakhshan after her medical education at Balkh University came to an abrupt end. She was nervous about seeking out a brand new career path. She refused to let cultural pressure keep her from proving her value as a member of society.
“I started learning English” she said. “I joined FOCUS Afghanistan in Badakhshan as an intern.” Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) is the arm of the Aga Khan Development Network dedicated to emergency relief and helping people transition from disaster assistance to long-term development, especially in the developing world. Her talents were soon recognized by her FOCUS coworkers as she moved into an administrative position.
Soon after 2002, Shireen moved to Kabul, Afghanistan with her husband, a doctor, so that he could pursue a Ph.D. in medical science. She was transferred to FOCUS Kabul, as an assistant to the head of FOCUS.