When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, Fatema Jalaly, a member of the Babson Collaborative Student Network (BCSN), reached out to her peers around the world with expressions of fear and despair.

“The arrival of the Taliban was one of the nightmares I never imagined seeing one day, because I knew my body and soul would be destroyed with all my hopes and dreams,” Jalaly said. “My mother always says, ‘Even in the worst days, never give up, the heaviest and most beautiful rains always come from the darkest clouds.’ “

Launched in January 2021, seven months before the fall of the Afghan Republic, the BCSN is a forum for selected student leaders from member colleges and universities. Babson Collaborative for entrepreneurship training.

Comprising 32 member institutions around the world, Babson Collaborative members include the Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile, also known as UDD, and the American University of Afghanistan, also known as AUAF, where Jalaly graduated with a bachelor’s degree in May.

When the Taliban captured Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on August 15, UDD students used their connections in the Babson Collaborative Network, which helped facilitate the safe evacuation of Jalaly from Afghanistan to Chile about 10,000 miles away.

“With the arrival of the Taliban, we lost a lot in Afghanistan,” Jalaly said. “We have lost freedom, democracy, peace, education and many humanitarian values. There is nothing left to miss except my dear family and friends.

Coordination of the rescue mission abroad

UDD student Joaquín González, one of the school’s four student ambassadors to BCSN, said he saw the chaotic situation in Kabul on TV and sent a WhatsApp message on August 16 in the BCSN group conveying their love and best wishes to the four AUAF ambassadors in Afghanistan, which included Jalaly.

“Fatema responded in a totally desperate chat, saying that her life, her dreams and her future were gone,” González said. “I was totally feeling it, so I sent her a direct message asking how I could help her, and she replied that she had to leave the Taliban country as soon as possible, that she had buried all of her documents for. hide them from the Taliban, who they search house by house (for) people who work with organizations or the former government.

This prompted the four UDD ambassadors to BCSN – González, Nicolás Castellón, Magdalena Irribarren and Felipe Sanzana – to find a way to help their fellow ambassadors from Afghanistan.

González — a 2019 winner of the Babson Collaborative Global Student Challenge for developing a business that provides emergency information to firefighters in the shortest possible time, said UDD student ambassadors felt compelled to help their Afghan counterparts.

“The meaning of the Babson Collaborative Student Network is to literally collaborate with the people in the network to build a better world, even if that means coordinating a rescue mission to get them out of danger.”
Joaquín González, BCSN Ambassador, Universidad del Desarrollo (Chile)

“The meaning of the Babson Collaborative Student Network is to literally collaborate with the people in the network to build a better world,” said González, “even if that means coordinating a rescue mission to get them out of danger.”

González reached out to former and current Chilean officials to help persuade the Chilean government to support the cause, he said, adding that he was also in constant communication with Babson Collaborative director Jamie Kendrioski.

Babson cultivates a global network

Founded in 2016, Babson Collaborative for Entrepreneurship Education is a global organization of institutional members within the Babson Academy, with 32 member schools from 21 countries, including Afghanistan, Chile and the United States.

The Collaborative promotes Babson’s signature method of teaching entrepreneurial leadership around the world and provides member institutions with experiential learning opportunities through direct engagement with professors at Babson and other member institutions. The Collaborative also offers specific programs for students from member schools, such as the BCSN and the Global Student Challenge, in which students participate in a feasibility analysis of a new business concept that addresses one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.

When the Taliban took control of the Afghan presidential palace, UDD student ambassador Castellón contacted his classmates Tomás Ffrench-Davis and José Ignacio Aracena.

Ffrench-Davis and Aracena won the 2021 Babson Collaborative Global Student Challenge earlier this year for their startup Kellun, an organization and app that helps connect volunteers, donors, social initiatives, non-governmental organizations and businesses to help those in need.

Castellón coordinated a fundraising campaign with Kellun to obtain economic resources to help evacuate women at risk from Afghanistan. This enabled the company to secure funding that helped Jalaly flee Afghanistan to pursue continuing education and opportunities that were no longer accessible or possible in Afghanistan, according to González and Kendrioski.

“This story reflects the power of BCSN, a global network of students eager to learn from others, willing to teach others and with a vision to help create a better future than today,” said Kendrioski. “I speak for Babson Academy when I say how proud we are of all of the BCSN Student Ambassadors who have worked together to accomplish this incredible feat, and how inspired we are by this demonstration of the power of entrepreneurial leadership. . “

The long journey

Most of the four AUAF ambassadors had the resources to provide security on their own without ties to Babson College, but Jalaly found herself with no apparent path to peace and prosperity except for A: his BCSN peers in Chile.

Fatema Jalaly in Afghanistan
Babson Collaborative Student Network member Fatema Jalaly thanks her Chilean peers for helping her escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

While seeking to escape, Jalaly learned that an evacuation from Hamid Karzai International Airport would be too risky and heeded a warning to leave the airport before the infamous Terrorist attack of August 26 who killed 13 US servicemen and dozens of Afghan civilians, according to González.

Meanwhile, the Chilean government agreed to accept refugees from Afghanistan as UDD students pressured the government to ensure Jalaly would be included. Jalaly’s evacuation began in early September as she boarded a bus that transported her across Afghanistan from Kabul to Herat. Then, on September 10, Jalaly was given permission to cross the Iranian border due to BCSN and Chile’s efforts to get him an Iranian visa, González said.

After arriving in Iran, Jalaly continued his long journey through several international flights until he landed in Santiago, Chile on September 17, according to González and Chilean news accounts.

New departures abroad

Settled in her new life in Chile, Jalaly has no regrets.

“I left my family behind to pursue my goals and dreams in a safe country,” she said. “It makes me sad and depressed to think that my family is far from me and what a good days we had together, but when I think about my goals, why I left my country, I feel better.”

These new beginnings presented new challenges for Jalaly, who said she sometimes experiences “culture shock, but I’m also learning new skills and learning more about myself here” in Latin America. “I want to continue my studies, work in a good place, restart my humanitarian activities and be an independent Afghan woman,” she added.

Striving to learn Spanish through an online language course, Jalaly said she was grateful to her peers at BCSN Chile for giving me “a window of hope”.

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