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Hiding from the Taliban in Plain Sight

Asia-Pacific and South Asia

When Maria Toorpakai was just four years old, she lit her dresses on fire and claimed a new name: Genghis Khan. After competing as a boy in weightlifting for most of her childhood, Maria’s life drastically changed once her gender identity was leaked across Pakistan. Maria describes the difficulties she faced in pursuing her athletic goals and denounces the extremism that has taken over her home of South Waziristan. She vows to root out terrorism in her community by making education and sports accessible for all Pakistani children, regardless of their gender.

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