Chakoma was born in Uzbekistan. She speaks five languages and dreams of someday working for the United Nations.
Both Chakoma’s father and grandfather are famous Afghans. Her dad, a beloved poet, has written 21 books of poetry. Her name actually means "poem". Her grandfather, the late Ustad Rafiq Sadeq, is a well-known actor and director. Her mother is a well-respected literature teacher.
When war was just starting in Afghanistan, Chakoma’s parents moved to Uzbekistan so her dad could take a job at the Embassy of Afghanistan. They lived in Uzbekistan for 15 years until the government refused to provide visas and wanted to send them back to Afghanistan. Returning, however, was not an option, because the Taliban were angry with her father and would have likely killed him. Many of his poems attacked their actions, defended women’s rights and spoke against discrimination.
Fortunately, Chakoma and her family, including her brother, were able to seek refuge in the United States and moved here in 2007 when she was in the 9th grade. Her parents were willing to give up everything—family, friends, even her father’s notoriety—so their children could have a better life.
Chakoma says her personality has helped her adapt to her new life in the United States. She says she’s always “tried to be like water” and shape herself around new surroundings.
Currently a student at Boise State, Chakoma is studying Health Sciences with an emphasis in Public Health. She says that as soon as she moved to America she realized this was a place she could work hard and make her dreams come true. “In America, people can make their own decisions,” she says. “Freedom offers unlimited opportunities.”