The New York Times bestseller, written by a former reporter for ABC News, that People magazine called “a transporting, enlightening book” tells the story of a fearless young entrepreneur who brought hope to the lives of dozens of women in war-torn Afghanistan
Former ABC journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the riveting true story of Kamila Sidiqi and other women of Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s fearful rise to power. In what Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, calls “one of the most inspiring books I have ever read,” Lemmon recounts with novelistic vividness the true story of a fearless young woman who not only reinvented herself as an entrepreneur to save her family but, in the face of ferocious opposition, brought hope to the lives of dozens of women in war-torn Kabul.
In 2005, Lemmon went to Afghanistan on assignment for the Financial Times to write about women entrepreneurs. When she met a dressmaker named Kamila Sediqi, Lemmon (once a producer for This Week with George Stephanopolos) knew she had her story. It's an exciting, engrossing one that reads like a novel, complete with moments of tension and triumph, plus well-researched detail on daily life in Kabul under Taliban rule. When that regime descended in 1996, it brought fear, violence, and restrictions: women must stay home, may not work, and must wear the chadri a cloak, also known as a burqa, that covers the face and body in public. After Sediqi's parents left the city to avoid being pressed into service, or worse, by the Taliban, it fell to her to support the family. Her story is at once familiar (she came up with an idea, procured clients, hired student workers, and learned as she went) and wholly different (she couldn't go anywhere without a male escort, had to use an assumed name with customers due to the threat of being found out and punished, and could fit in work on the sewing machine only when there was electricity). It's a fascinating story that touches on family, gender, business, and politics and offers inspiration through the resourceful, determined woman at its heart.
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The dressmaker of Khair Kahn
Great book, it gives you a better understanding of a situation that is far from our own reality. Thank you or sharing this exceptional story it is very inspirational.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
I don’t know what drew me to read The Dressmaker if Khair Khana exactly except I love to sew and and reading about real individuals during the Taliban Occupation sounded very intriguing. The Sadiqi family felt familiar to me. I have nine children 4-daughters and 5-sons and could visualize many of their interactions. Except for the disagreement between Malika and Kamila regarding the later’s work with the different agencies I was amazed at the peaceful co-existence between them all. What a trial for the children to have their parents leave them for the many months and then years for their father to escape persecution and likely execution. But you can feel the influence they had on their children even from a distance. Some of the times when they were in extreme danger had me on edge. Esp the bus trip to Pakistan without their male escort. I was mad at the “gentleman” who reneged on his promise to be their escort if needed. What a scum. Woman with their determination can accomplish great things as the author showed us many times. I had a chuckle out the hurried dress orders for what turned out to be a Taliban wedding. Kamila was brave beyond her years but I especially lived how she thought if others outside her family. She saved many families from starvation to be sure. I only wish I could have seen some of her dresses. Their images sounded impressive. Thank you for the insight your book brought time. I enjoyed it very much.