Maria Toor Pakay is a professional squash player from Pakistan, but this is not your average female athlete. She became a professional athlete in spite of coming from a part of Pakistan controlled by the Taliban, a place where women are not even allowed to leave their homes, much less play a sport.
This video was shot in 2011 and tells Maria’s story of courage and determination in the midst of death threats to herself and her family. What is most striking about her story is her family’s willingness to defy Taliban rule (even going so far as dressing her as a boy) in order to support their daughter’s dream. Maria is willing to face death to become a world squash champion for Pakistan, not only for her own glory, but to empower the girls and women of her country to stand up for themselves and be a catalyst for change.