I Should Have Honor (Brohi)

I Should Have Honor:  A Memoir of Hope and Pride in Pakistan
Khalida Brohi, 2018
Random House
224 pp.

A fearless memoir about tribal life in Pakistan—and the act of violence that inspired one ambitious young woman to pursue a life of activism and female empowerment

From a young age, Khalida Brohi was raised to believe in the sanctity of arranged marriage.

Her mother was forced to marry a thirteen-year-old boy when she was only nine; Khalida herself was promised as a bride before she was even born.

But her father refused to let her become a child bride. He was a man who believed in education, not just for himself but for his daughters, and Khalida grew up thinking she would become the first female doctor in her small village. Khalida thought her life was proceeding on an unusual track for a woman of her circumstances, but one whose path was orderly and straightforward.

Everything shifted for Khalida when she found out that her beloved cousin had been murdered by her uncle in a tradition known as “honor killing.”

Her cousin’s crime? She had fallen in love with a man who was not her betrothed.

This moment ignited the spark in Khalida Brohi that inspired a globe-spanning career as an activist, beginning at the age of sixteen. From a tiny cement-roofed room in Karachi where she was allowed ten minutes of computer use per day, Brohi started a Facebook campaign that went viral.

From there, she created a foundation focused on empowering the lives of women in rural communities through education and employment opportunities, while crucially working to change the minds of their male partners, fathers, and brothers.

This book is the story of how Brohi, while only a girl herself, shone her light on the women and girls of Pakistan, despite the hurdles and threats she faced along the way. And ultimately, she learned that the only way to eradicate the parts of a culture she despised was to fully embrace the parts of it that she loved. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—October 10, 1988
Raised—Balochistan Province, Pakistan
Education—Karachi University
Currently—lives in Pakistan and Sedona, Arizona, USA

Khalida Brohi is a Pakistani activist for women's rights and a social entrepreneur. She is also the author of I Should Have Honor: A Memoir of Hope and Pride in Pakistan, published in 2018.

The first girl in her village to go to school, Brohi was educated in Karachi. When she was 16, and still in Karachi, her 14-year-old cousin became a victim of an honor killing: her cousin's only crime was to fall in love with a young man other than the one her parents had betrothed her to.

Brohi began to publicly protest the cultural tradition of honor killings—a protest that went viral, attracting international attention and angering tribal leaders. In 2008, Khalida left Karachi.

In the process, Brohi founded the Sughar Empowerment Society to help women in Pakistan learn skills related to economic and personal growth. (Sughar is Urdu for a skilled, confident woman.) The Society challenges perceptions of women from within the culture it seeks to change.

By 2013, there were 23 Sughar centers, serving hundreds of women in small Pakistani villages. The women make their own money by selling hand-made embroidery work to the fashion industry. At the same time, they learn about preventing domestic violence, the importance of educating girls, and expanding women's rights.

The year 2014 proved a banner year for Brohi. Forbes included her in its "30 under 30" list, she was invited to join a cohort of fellows with the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was also the subject of a documentary, Seeds of Change, and in October of that same year Brohi gave a TED talk at TED Global discussing her activism.

Although she has received worldwide praise for her work, Brohi has been the subject of violent threats on her life, including shooting and bombing.

Brohi is married to David Barron, and the two spend their time between Pakistan and Sedona, Arizona, in the U.S., where the couple runs The Chai Spot. Fifty percent of their profits go toward micro grants and scholarships for children. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 2/14/2018.)

Listen to the author's interview by Terry Gross.

Book Reviews
Khalida Brohi’s powerful storytelling exposes the little-known world of tribal Pakistan and the injustices facing women there. With insight and determination, she explores the most entrenched social customs facing women today and shares her secrets for innovation, impact, and success. This story is timely not just for those who care about women’s rights but for anyone involved in activism, community mobilization, and social entrepreneurship.
Ariana Huffington - Founder, HuffPost

Khalida Brohi is a force of nature. Her story, in many ways, is beyond belief. It’s incredible that someone so young could achieve this much through passion and ingenuity.
Chris Anderson - TED

Writing in compelling, page-turning prose, Brohi shares a deeply felt, intimate portrait of what it means to be a global activist. There’s even a love story—one with a happy ending. Don’t miss I Should Have Honor, which deserves a legion of caring, activist readers.

One woman's efforts to save women in Pakistan from outdated tribal traditions.… The author illuminates the importance of education for both women and men and the global need for women to be recognized as equals to men. The heartfelt story of a woman's ardent dedication to stopping the senseless "honor" killings in Pakistan.
Kirkus Reviews

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