BARONESS FRANCES D'SOUZA
AFGHAN CELEBRITY AND THOUGHT LEADER INTERVIEWS
with Edward Zellem
THE LORD SPEAKER
Baroness Frances D'Souza
Lord Speaker of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, anthropologist, professor and philanthropist
At first, I wasn’t even sure the Baroness was real.
It was the summer of 2011, and I was spending a lot of time at Marefat High School in the Hazara suburbs of west Kabul. I was working with students and teachers there to create and illustrate a bilingual book for Afghans. It was a fun project of my own that began with a personal hobby of collecting and translating Afghan Proverbs.
The students at Marefat sometimes would refer in passing to a mysterious British woman they called “Amah Frances” (Auntie Frances). عمه فرانسیس Other times they called her “Alee Janab” (Her Excellency). جناب عالی
I first dismissed “Auntie Frances" and "Alee Janab” as a simple childhood fantasy, perhaps based on some foreign visitor who had once toured the school. But I could not have been more wrong.
When I finally asked Marefat High School founder and Afghan educator Aziz Royesh who “Auntie Frances” was, he told me the amazing story of Frances Gertrude Claire D’Souza.
It turned out that she was the Baroness Frances D’Souza of Wychwood, CMG, PC, and today she is the Lord Speaker of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. And she is very, very real.... (more)
"Baroness D’Souza: 'Auntie Frances' to an Afghan High School"