Sohaila is an educationalist, an interdisciplinary researcher, and a gender equity activist. Sohaila has more than 18 years of cross-cultural work experience with multiple public institutes, Non-Governmental Organizations, and international development agencies such as the Florida State University-the US Department of State, the World Bank, and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Among these, for the last twelve years, she has served as an educator and researcher focusing on social justice, equity, social mobilization, and community-based approaches. Sohaila joined CCBR in January 2023 as a researcher. Sohaila is also a teaching faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Sohaila is a newcomer to Canada, originally from Afghanistan; she also lived and studied in Iran, India, and the United States. Sohaila has a Ph.D. in International and Multicultural Education and a master’s degree in Socio-cultural and International Development Education from Florida State University. Sohaila strongly believes in education’s intrinsic and instrumental values that can help broaden individuals’ range of choices, which can then lead to increasing individuals’ and communities’ freedom and well-being. In this process, participatory community-based involvement and agency are crucial factors for Sohaila. This is why most of her research and scholarly work has focused on community-based approaches to development. For instance, in her doctoral dissertation, she conducted a qualitative case study focusing on leveraging religion and (patriarchal) culture to improve gender equity in terms of girls’ education in Afghanistan.
As the mother of two young children, Sohaila spends her free time with her small family. She and her kids love coloring, reading books, making crafts, visiting playgrounds and libraries, and baking. Since 2021, Sohaila has been leading a charity initiative to support vulnerable Afghan children (children with disabilities, orphans, malnourished children, and sick children).