Mahboba Rawi: Founder of Mahboba's Promise
Mahboba Rawi was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. At just 15 years of age she was forced to flee from the Soviet authorities in her country and lived for two years in a Pakistan refugee camp until she married and moved to Australia.
Despite suffering personal tragedy in 1992 when she lost her son in a drowning accident and other hardship, Mahboba worked to help Afghan refugees in Australia, by teaching them swimming and English.
In 1998, after a plea for help from a Doctor in Peshawar, Pakistan, Mahboba began to raise money and awareness in Australia for Afghan widows and orphans living in refugee camps. Her passion for the wellbeing of the Afghan people led to the formation in 2001 of Mahboba's Promise Inc, a non-profit, non-Government organisation dedicated to directly improving the lives of vulnerable women and children of Afghanistan.
Since Mahboba’s Promise was established, Mahboba’s determination to work has seen a number of schools started for girls and boys, primary health care services in rural areas and vocational programs to give women and young people a chance to lead self-sufficient lives.
In Afghanistan there are many children who don’t have parents. Mahboba’s Promise operates three ‘Hope Houses’ located in Kabul, Panjshir Valley and Takhar. The centres serve as a place for street children and orphans to live in safety. During the day, they go to school as well as receive supplementary tuition to improve their educational outcomes.
Despite her own personal challenges, Mahboba’s passion for influencing long term change among the lives of women and children in Afghanistan is unparalleled.
Mahboba has established strong relationships with a variety of high profile influential people in Australia such as Governor General Quentin Bryce, Governor of NSW Marie Bashir, various members of parliament, philanthropists, community organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations. These relationships have been paramount to the continued success of Mahboba’s Promise.
Governor General Quentin Bryce became a Patron of Mahboba’s Promise in 2011, a role she has carried with her after retiring from her official post. With Dame Quentin Bryce’s support, Mahboba has continued to implement further vocational programs and opportunities in Afghanistan such as building libraries for Afghan students.
Mahboba has been well represented in the media, appearing as the subject of reports on the ABC programs 7.30 Report and Australian Story, and has been listed in Who’s Who in Australia. She has been nominated for the Australian of the Year Award three times, voted ‘One of the Top 50 Australians that Matters Most to the World’ by the Sydney Morning Herald, and was invited as a Participant in the Australian 2020 Summit in 2008.
Mahboba’s most treasured achievement came in 2010, when she received the Order of Australia Medal for service to international humanitarian aid in Afghanistan – a sign that Mahboba’s influence, her programs of development and dedication were making a tangible difference in the Afghan community and that it was recognised by her adopted country.
Mahboba Rawi’s amazing story was published by Random House in 2005 in the book Mahboba’s Promise. You can buy the book from the Mahboba's Promise shop.