Monasteries of the Heart

Recommended Books for Lectio

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

Published by

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Why I recommend this book:

This is a remarkable book—a true story giving a much fuller picture of the daily life of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule in 1996 than is possible simply by reading anecdotes or descriptions of individual events during that time.

Kamila Sediqi, 19 years old, is thrust into the role of caring for her four younger sisters and brother when her parents and older brother flee Kabul to avoid being forced into the Taliban army. She must keep them safe and be their breadwinner. Even though she had never sewn, she decides to become a seamstress. Her older sister, who lives nearby, gives Kamila a crash course in sewing. Kamila and her sisters begin to sew dresses and sell them to shopkeepers. Her bravery and cleverness in dealing with the Taliban in order to sell the dresses is almost beyond belief. She ultimately employs 34 young women, turning no one away who comes to her for help.

The author, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, is herself quite remarkable. She left ABC news in order to write about women entrepreneurs in conflict zones—Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda. She was in Afghanistan in 2005, interviewing women and met Kamila. Gayle knew that she had to bring her story to readers.

Recommended by

May 4, 2012

Add comment

Log in or register to post comments