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The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
by Tzemach Lemmon, Gayle
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1. Kamila studied to become a teacher and even earned a prestigious teaching certificate. Before she could complete her training, the Taliban took over Kabul and banned women from nearly all public places, including schools. How did Kamila adapt the skills she learned as a teacher and put them to use starting her dressmaking business, and later in her U.N. work?

2. At many crucial junctures, Kamila turns to her faith for guidance. What role does faith play in her personal journey?

3. Lemmon paints a colorful, yet nuanced portrait of modern day Afghanistan. The story of Kamila and her family presents an alternative to the conventional image of women as victims of war. Did Lemmon's portrayal change the way you think about Afghanistan? Or about women and war?

4. Within a year, Kamila was able to transform a living room operation into a thriving dressmaking business --- selling finely embroidered dresses to tailors throughout Kabul and providing meaningful work for an entire community of women. What do you think about Kamila's business practices? Why do you think she and her sisters were so successful? What lessons about entrepreneurship can be taken from their story?

5. How does Lemmon portray men throughout the book? Think of Rahim, Mr. Sidiqi, Ali and his brothers, and the Talibs Kamila encounters. Do these characters reshape or reinforce your impressions of men in Afghanistan?

6. Despite being faced with the daily perils of war and economic hardships, the Sidiqi family never completely abandoned their home in Khair Khana. What does that say about their commitment to their community? To their country?

Additional discussion questions from: Reading Group Guides
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