Jean Kissell left her home in Vermont to help to lead a unique charge in Afghanistan—training a network of ancient tribal leaders to treat women right.
Kissell is now the executive director of the group. Every day, her office, in a chilly home in a quiet Kabul neighborhood, serves as a nerve center for the organization, which has established a network of 30,000 trained community leaders, taught thousands of children in community schools, and implemented a training program in women’s rights under Islam. The group now has around 900 Afghan employees.
The organization is also addressing one of Afghanistan’s largest social taboos—its roughly 1 million opium and heroin addicts—by running a number of drug-treatment centers, including inside a prison. The poppy grown in this country is taking its toll on the Afghan people, breeding crime and corruption and funding attacks against foreign forces.
My Highlights | Passion, steadfast, unwavering dedication – and talent
A Key Talent | While to me a talent is a very different thing than strength, both seem critical to success. Persistence, call it steadfastness or stubbornness is my essential characteristic that has led to the effectiveness of my work.
Critical Skills I Develop | Listening is a critical skill; analytical thinking, observation and knowing about how to use empathy are important skills. Writing well is a critical skill. Improving these and other skills are a lifelong process.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Be kind, be grateful, be helpful, work hard, have fun, eat sensibly and get enough sleep.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I nurture friendships, read, read, read, sit in flower gardens, view funny films and listen to the wind.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I want to write a book that would be read by many people.
The Meaning Of Life | We have the power to make our lives meaningful.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Never give up.