June 2–4, 2016 • University of Maryland, College Park
AAUW Hawaii is proud to announce the recipient of our scholarship to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders NCCWSL. We will provide travel cost and conference registration to Mehrangez Rahmatova, a member of the AAUW-Kona Branch.
Mehrangez Rahmatova is the oldest child of a poor family in Tajikistan. She was allowed to attend school only after doing various chores around the house. When she was 15, a boy returned to her school after spending a year in the US. He had been part of a program created by Bill and Melissa Gates to bring young people with potential to America for a wider educational experience. Mehrangez wanted so badly to be chosen for this program that she paid her teacher to tutor her in English 3 days a week after school. She was chosen and spent 10 months in Kona with a family that has hosted many exchange students. She received honors during her year at Konawaena High School. She has said that when she returned to Tajikistan, she no longer fit in. Her world was so much larger, and so were her dreams. Her family was patient with her, but finally demanded that she “do the right thing”, so they arranged a marriage. When the prospective groom’s parents visited, Mehrangez “shamed” her family by pleading not to become a bride. Her father beat her. The final solution was to send her back to Kona, where her host family welcomed her. They have worked with various civic and church organizations to raise the money to support her through higher education. She received her visa in December and arrived a few weeks later. Her community in Tajikistan has shunned her for daring to dream of more. She lives with her host family again and currently attends HCC Palamanui, but has taken her SATs and has applied to 4-year colleges.
Mehrangez is focused on nursing as a profession, but is equally interested in advocating for young women who live without choices. She wants to help all young women see the opportunities that she has been able to see. We are confident that her participation in NCCWSL will contribute to her development as a leader in the rights of women everywhere.