Razia has worked for many years to forge connections between Afghans and Americans. Her humanitarian efforts are honored in First Lady Laura Bush’s 2016 book We Are Afghan Women.
Born in Afghanistan, Razia moved to the United States in 1970. The proprietor of a small tailoring business in Duxbury, Massachusetts, for 20 years she served as president of the town’s Rotary Club. In the aftermath of September 11, Razia rallied her adopted New England community to send over 400 homemade blankets to rescue workers at Ground Zero after September 11. Her efforts expanded to include sending care packages to US troops in Afghanistan. Through her involvement in the military’s Operation Shoe Fly, she coordinated the delivery of over 30,000 pairs of shoes to needy Afghan children. Her handmade quilts commemorating September 11 have been exhibited at Madison Square Garden, the chapel at the Pentagon, and at fire stations in New York and Massachusetts.
Razia has received many awards for her humanitarian work (see below for chronology), including a 2012 CNN Top 10 Hero award, the 2007 Woman of Excellence award from Germaine Lawrence Inc., multiple Rotary Club International Peace Awards, and certificates of appreciation from the Army Corps of Engineers and the American Legion. She has spoken on women and children’s issues at venues across the United States as well as in Europe and Afghanistan. In 2014, Razia was named Social Innovator by the Lewis Institute at Babson College and in 2015 she was awarded a Woman of Action award from Rotary International at the United Nations in New York City. In 2016, she was honored with Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award.
Razia has served as a member of the Interfaith Council, the No Place for Hate Committee, and Jordan Hospital’s board of directors.
Today, in order to continue her humanitarian work, school administration, fundraising efforts, and spending time with family, Razia travels between Afghanistan and the United States.