17 May Afghanistan-born woman on solo flight around the world
Born in an Afghan refugee camp, Shaesta Waiz says she remembers being painfully shy and afraid of airplanes. Now, the 29-year-old is the first female certified civilian pilot from the war-torn country.
She has her sights set on becoming the youngest woman to complete a solo flight around the world, and she wants every young girl to see how she beat the odds to be able to accept such a challenge.
Weather permitting, Waiz will stop in 18 countries across five continents to complete the over 40,000 kilometre journey. She started the trip in Florida on Saturday.
“I thought my role was to become a house wife and have kids. My mom had six girls,” she told CTV News on Monday in Montreal. “I have these moments where I take a step back, even if I’m in the air, and realize this is really happening.”
Through her non-profit dubbed Dream Soar, she hopes to inspire a new generation of young women to consider careers in male-dominated technical fields like aviation and raise money for a scholarship. She hopes to meet with as many youngsters as possible along her route.
“When I see the young kids … they are shocked to see the airplane and touch it,” she said. “When they actually feel something and see something. That’s when they get excited.”
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Photo courtesy of Naor Cohen.