Sola Mahfouz

Defiant Dreams

The Journey of an Afghan Girl Who Risked Everything for Education



“Defiant Dreams” by Sola Mahfouz is an extraordinary memoir. It chronicles her journey from oppression in Afghanistan to academic triumph in America, defying the Taliban’s edicts against women’s education. Her story is a beacon of resilience, hope, and the transformative power of determination against incredible odds.

In stock

Number of pages: 320

Published: 13 July 2023

SKU: 9780857528803 Categories: , , Tag:


“Defiant Dreams” is a compelling and extraordinary memoir by Sola Mahfouz, a young woman whose life journey begins in the challenging landscapes of Afghanistan. This book is more than just a story; it’s a testament to education, a fight against oppression and misogyny, and an awe-inspiring tale of inequality, determination, and remarkable resilience.

Sola Mahfouz’s journey is one of both heartbreak and hope. At the tender age of eleven, her life takes a drastic turn when the Taliban decrees that girls attending school will face horrific consequences. Trapped within the confines of her home, Sola watches as her childhood freedoms are cruelly snatched away – no more play, no singing, and even laughter becomes a forbidden act.

Yet, in the face of such adversity, Sola refuses to be subdued. At sixteen, armed with nothing but a fierce will and a hidden spark of rebellion, she embarks on a clandestine educational odyssey. From the secrecy of her home, where she’s allowed to venture out only a handful of times each year, Sola teaches herself mathematics, English, theoretical physics, and philosophy. She devours dictionaries, engages with free online courses, and relentlessly pursues knowledge against all odds.

Sola’s story is a powerful narrative that shatters stereotypes. It moves beyond the often singular portrayal of Afghan women as mere victims, obscured behind veils and generalizations. “Defiant Dreams” is a radical act of storytelling, one that illuminates the life of an Afghan girl who dared to yearn for more. It’s about an indomitable spirit that transcends boundaries, and a young woman’s journey to achieve what seemed impossible. Her accomplishments, culminating in her move to America to study quantum computing, are nothing short of extraordinary, achieved in a timeframe that would take many a lifetime.

Praise: “Sola Mahfouz’s story is one of unyielding courage and an unbreakable spirit. Her journey from the oppressive streets of Afghanistan to the halls of higher learning in America is a beacon of hope and resilience. ‘Defiant Dreams’ is a must-read, a narrative that not only challenges perceptions but also reinforces our optimism about the future.” – Bill Gates.

Reader’s Note: This memoir is more than a personal story; it’s a source of inspiration. Sola’s tale is a reminder of the power of the human spirit to overcome the most daunting obstacles. “Defiant Dreams” is an eye-opening, heart-stirring, and ultimately uplifting read for anyone who believes in the transformative power of education and the unyielding strength of the human will.

Additional information

Weight 420 g
Dimensions 21.8 × 14 × 3.6 cm