Jahida Nadi had lived in three countries before the age of 5. Now an executive with power tools giant Hilti, she moved to the U.S. in 1983, joining aunts, uncles, and grandparents after her parents fled Afghanistan and claimed asylum in Germany.
Her family eventually settled in San Diego, where she attended college. Her career led her to Dallas in 2019. Here, she shares the traumatic story of her birth in Pakistan:
“In April 1978, there was the Communist revolution known as the April Coup. The president of Afghanistan at the time was killed, along with his entire family. Soviet advisers, who eventually invaded Afghanistan in 1979, took control of the country. My uncle was taken—and never seen again. My dad went to the interior ministry and tried to argue for my uncle’s innocence. He was pulled aside by an acquaintance who said, ‘You better leave because they’re about to capture you, too.’ He escaped, but without my mom so as not to endanger her and my sister. My mom, who was pregnant with me, traveled with my sister by bus and foot to Pakistan. She had near-death experiences and at one point thought she was going to be sold off. Luckily, in the middle of the night, she got to a home in Peshawar. It probably was the most relieving moment of her life when my dad opened the door. Some months later, I was born. We had no status in Pakistan, so my parents couldn’t go to a hospital. My mom went into labor at midnight; a neighbor knew a homeless midwife, and that is who came and helped.”