FAIRFIELD — Five years ago, Fahima Khoram was a doctor in Afghanistan.
Today, she works part-time and attends Solano Community College.
Khoram is this year’s Women’s Opportunity Award winner for Soroptimist International of Central Solano County. The award is given to a woman who is the primary source of financial support in her family.
The cash award it comes with is designed to help the woman improve her education, skills and employment prospects. Each year, Soroptimist awards more than $1.5 million in education grants to more than 1,000 women.
A 1989 graduate of Kabul Medical University, Khoram met her husband Enayapullah Khoram, a fellow doctor, and married him in 1992. A year later, their first child, a son, was born.
In 1994, the family moved to Pakistan because of the war in Afghanistan. Khoram and her husband worked as medical officers, spending 10 years there.
“It was hard work,” she said. “We dealt with refugees.”
Family convinced them to return to Afghanistan. After being there for about a year, the violence surged. After a bombing at a bus stop that killed many innocent people, Enayapullah wanted to move the family to the United States.
They were also being intimidated, since Khoram’s husband had served as a liaison officer with the United States military. The Taliban was not happy with the choice, Khoram said.
They came to the U.S. after selling everything in Afghanistan, and arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs as well as visas.
“We did everything in secret,” she said.
That was 2009.
The family, which now includes four children, lives in an apartment.
It’s been hard for Khoram and her husband to find work. She works part-time and attends Solano Community College, improving her English and computer skills.
“English is important,” she said.
So important that when she started college, she rode the bus. Since then, she’s gotten her driver’s license and a car.
“I didn’t give up,” Khoram said.
Khoram works at night, averaging about 40 hours a month. She wants to work more and dreams of being in the medical field again. Finances prevent her from taking any board tests, let alone enrolling in medical school.
But she’s happy.
She said she feels that she and her family are secure. She also appreciates the human rights here. “I don’t feel like I’m an immigrant,” she said.
Her oldest child is 19 and attends Solano College. She taught him to drive. The youngest is 7.
“I’m not sure what will happen next,” she said. “I keep my heart strong and do everything for my kids.”
Khoram will also be recognized at the Soroptimist district convention May 5.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.