People of the Year 2018: Dilkhwaz Ahmed

Dilkhwaz Ahmed

Who is she? 

Dilkhwaz Ahmed is the executive director and co-founder of License to Freedom, an El Cajon-based nonprofit that assists refugee and immigrant survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. 

Why did we pick her? 

Ahmed and License to Freedom have helped hundreds of women to overcome fears about their domestic partner or spouse, and also assisted them with custody and deportation concerns. This past year, she was inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame and awarded “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Casa Cornelia Law Center. The latter was a very special honor for Ahmed since Casa Cornelia helped her with her own political asylum case and gave her a job when she moved here fifteen years ago. “I felt like I won an Oscar award,” Ahmed says. “I was a client, but my relationship with them was beyond a client.”  

In her own words: 

“This work doesn’t just change the lives of the women I work with, but it’s changed me personally. It made me look at the world differently and be able to say, ‘I can do it.’”

What’s next? 

Ahmed wants to step up License to Freedom’s “education and prevention” programming by working with schools to teach children about healthy relationships. She also wants to start something called “Man Talk,” a therapeutic, preventative program for men whose culture and religion may be more accepting of domestic violence.