Human rights activist

During the last twenty years, I have dealt with all kinds of violence against women, forced marriages and many social and political problems. Twenty years of experience working with vulnerable groups like women, children and disabled people have put me in many difficult situations.

Reporting about painful and tragic situations, writing about social harm, honor killings, family violence and seeing the injured was a part of my work in Afghanistan.
There are many stories I will never forget. For instance, the story of Seterah. She was a girl I met in Herat whose husband had cut off her nose. Seeing the expression of her face, witnessing the tragedy that happened to her is one of the nightmares of my life. It also gives me strength to continue to raise my voice against such brutal violations of human rights.

Since 2009 I was the director of the Naw Andishan Foundation (New Thinkers Association) in Herat and during 2012-2016 I worked as a co-founder with Radio Sharzad (Girls Radio). I also founded a Women’s Cinema theatre in Heart. [Here you find the link to an interview with me in UN Afghan Quaterly 2013. PDF]

I worked as director of Herat Sister City Committee from 2011 to 2019. We established a sister cities partnership between Herat – Afghanistan & Council Bluffs – in Iowa United States of America in 2016. I received the Sister Cities International 2017 Award for Innovation in the Art and Culture with the photo exhibition ‘My sister’s smile’. Link.

targeted his heart
but all he could think
of was the kohl
around his lover’s eyes
cascading in his absence on her fate.

Somaia Ramish
Translation by Soleh Wolpe


Ms. Ramish worked tirelessly for six years to find a Sister Cities partnership. It was due, in large measure, to her stamina and commitment to the importance of citizen diplomacy that she persevered. Ms. Ramish’sefforts (…) have a generational impact on students in both Council Bluffs and Herat. (…) All of these impactful citizen diplomacy events are happening because of the energy and vision of Ms. Ramish and her dedication to her fellow Afghans.

Rick Burns of the Karadah Project International about Somaia Ramish.
In 2014, I was elected a member of the provincial council in Heart, Afghanistan. In 2018 I ran for a seat in the general elections of the National Parliament in Kabul, but was not elected.

‘My biggest fear is that the Taliban might return to political power, that they could once again overshadow our fate’, I said in an interview with UNHCR in 2014 [Link: ]

Since the Taliban took power in August 2021, I continued my work as a vocal and visible advocate of the plight of Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan, now based in The Netherlands. In Rotterdam I joined the commission We2 Digital Art of Women Connected.


Somaia is an outstanding communicator, whose voice is heard across international borders and across cultural divides as a fierce advocate for women’s and girl’s rights.

Gary L. Springer and Mary Ellen Upton of World Partnerships Inc.