Penjahit dari Khair Khana

Title: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Translator: Fahmy Yamani
Publisher: Gramedia, 2013
262 pages

Afghanistan always attracts my attention. I read quite a lot of books about this country. Some of them are really capturing my heart such as a story on education in Afghanistan as written by Greg Mortenson in Three Cups of Tea, Kite Runner by Khaled Hoseini  or Agustinus Wibowo in his touching traveling stories Selimut Debu. This latest book written by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is also based on true story in Afghanistan. The story about women who risked everything to keep them survived.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a story about Kamila Sidiqi, a former teacher who tries to find useful activities for Afghanistan women during Taliban era. Story begins in 1996, the day Taliban first arrived in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. Taliban applies a strict sharia law of Islam. The women are isolated from society. They are not able to go to work nor to school. They even can't leave home without a male relative or mahram.
Love the cover from HarperCollins
In this stressful period, Kamila and her sister are struggling as well on how to survive. Kamila can't teach anymore. She thinks hard until finally decides to learn how to sew. She becomes a master of dressmaking that makes the business growing well. She even can employ nearly 100 of her friends and neighbors. It's absolutely not an easy thing to do since she must be very careful not to get caught by Taliban. Kamila has made a big change to the lives of  the women in her society. They become independent by having their own income to support the family. Moreover Kamila has brought hope to the lives of dozen of women in war-torn Kabul. Very inspriring and heartwarming story.

The author, Gayle, was former ABC journalist. In 2005, she traveled to Afghanistan as a part of a case study she was completed for her MBA at Harvard University. She's studying women entrepeneur in conflict areas all around the world such as Bosnia and Rwanda. For this book, she did the interviews and research for three years in Kabul, London and Washington D.C. This book is in New York Times bestseller and currently ranked in's Top 100 bestseller list.