Farkhunda Muhtaj

Global Changemaker | Refugee Activist | Professional Soccer Player

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About Farkhunda

Farkhunda Muhtaj is a professional soccer player and social activist. She is the captain of the Afghanistan Women’s National Soccer Team and competes for Fortuna Sittard in the Dutch Eredivisie. In 2021, after the Taliban came into power, she led the evacuation of over 300 Afghans, including the Afghanistan Youth National Soccer Team, to Portugal.

She is the co-founder of Scarborough Simbas, a non-profit organization that uses sport to help ease the settlement journey of refugees and newcomers to Canada, the Director of Culture and Conscience at the Respect Group, a humanitarian ambassador for Penny Appeal Canada and UNHCR Netherlands, and sits on the board of League 1 Ontario’s women’s soccer committee.

Muhtaj was one of thirty female leaders in soccer invited by FIFA and UEFA to participate in the 2022 Women in Football Leadership Development Programme in Switzerland. She is a member of Common Goal, a charitable organization where she donates 1% of her salary toward anti-racism education and actively engages in tackling social challenges. She is also an INKEY Global Changemaker and Fund Leader where she allocates funding globally to support transformational youth-led social impact initiatives.

Muhtaj was recognized as a Top 30 YorkU Alumni under 30 in 2022 and by famous football clubs such as FC Barcelona for her active dedication to social justice. She has also been the recipient of many accolades, including the Canadian Premier League Game Changer Award, the Community Leadership Award by the Office of the Mayor in the City of Clarington, the Women Who Inspire Award by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, and the Community Involvement Award by the Canadian Afghan Sport Association among others.

Muhtaj earned two degrees from York University; a BSc degree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences (2019) and a B.Ed degree in Science and Physical Education (2021). She captained York University’s Women’s Soccer Team where she was a USPORT Academic All-Canadian, OUA First-Team All-Star and an OUA Gold Medalist.

Two documentary films were created highlighting the incredibly dangerous and heroic evacuation mission Muhtaj led of the Afghan Youth Women’s National Team players from Afghanistan to Portugal. The film ‘Ayenda’ by MSNBC was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2023 and the film ‘We are Ayenda’ by WhatsApp is available on Amazon Prime.

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