Kamila Sidiqui is an Afghani teacher whose life was changed drastically in the 1990′s when Taliban forces took over the city of Kabul. Kamila’s family was forced to separate–her parents leave for the northern provinces in fear for their lives, as her father had supported a previous government. Her older brother flees to Pakistan to avoid being forced to join the Taliban army, leaving Kamila, her sisters and younger brother in Kabul, as it is too dangerous for women to travel. With strict rules enforced by the Taliban, women who previously held positions in government or jobs teaching or in hospitals, were no longer allowed to be outside in public without a male escort, and were forced to live their lives indoors. When outside their homes, they were forced to wear chadris, which covered them head to toe. As the violence in Kabul increases and the Taliban regime imposes more and more rules upon the citizens, Kamila realizes that they will not survive without an income with which to purchase the basic necessities. She learns to sew from her older sister, and they begin a dress making business in their home. As the word spreads about their business, more women ask to participate, wanting the opportunity to learn a trade and to support their families. Under the ever-present threat of discovery, Kamila and her family continue to build a business that helps to support and empower the women of her neighborhood.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a fascinating look into the lives of women in war time, responsible for the support of their families, who have the courage and creativity to build a business under the watchful eye of the Taliban regime–an inspiring story of courage and resourcefulness.