Episode 35: Maria Toorpakai Wazir brings peace through sports and education

It's spring so here in Cleveland, we are enjoying the 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival and it was exactly a year ago at last year’s festival that I saw the documentary, Girl Unbound, about the life of Maria Toorpakai Wazir. It’s a story that transfixed me… so I’m completely honored and thrilled that Maria is my guest today.

I’m in awe of her intelligence, insight, and gratitude. Every time I listened to her while editing, a different great passage stood out. It certainly was her strength of self awareness even at a young age that attracted me to her story. At four years old she decided to burn her dresses, cut her hair, and start dressing as a boy so she could play outside and do what the boys were doing. That one act became the beginning of a "long journey filled with miracles".

She is Pakistan’s top female squash player and has she started her own foundation with the mission to bring peace to the world through sports and education.

We talk about that, gender differences, gender equity, her sister who is in Pakistani politics, being strong and confident, Angelina Jolie, education, the value of sport and so much more. 

Do watch the movie and read her book, but there's lots in our conversation not covered in either of those. Enjoy.

Maria's website
Maria's Instagram
Maria's Facebook
About Waziristan
Girl Unbound, The War To Be Her
A Different Kind of Daughter, by Maria Toorpakai and Katharine Holstein
The Breadwinner trailer, animated tale from Executive Producer Angelina Jolie
Maria's sister, Ayesha Gulalai Wazir Facebook