Maria Toorpakai Wazir is a multiple award-winning professional squash champion and trailblazer for global peace and human rights. Originally from the Waziristan tribal areas of the Pak-Afghanistan border, controlled by the Taliban, girls’ involvement in sport was strictly forbidden by local Islamic culture. To combat this challenge, and with her family’s blessing, Toorpakai trained and competed as a boy under the name of Gangis Khan. She became ranked as Pakistan’s top female player, 3rd in the world juniors, and 41st in the world seniors. Her remarkable story of resilience and courage, as told in her autobiography, A Different Kind of Daughter, was published worldwide in 2016. Her life story inspired the documentary, “The War to be Her” (Girl Unbound), which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, has been shown on PSB, at the United Nations, and at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, among many more. Toorpakai currently resides and trains in Toronto, Canada under formal professional squash player, Jonathon Power.
The Girl Who Hid From The Taliban in Plain Sight: The Maria Toorpakai Story
Human Rights in the Face of Extremism
Girls’ Education Sports and Overcoming Adversity