Samra Zafar

Samra Zafar is an award-winning international speaker, community leader, scholar, author and social entrepreneur. After escaping a decade of abuse as a child bride, Samra graduated as a top student at the University of Toronto, receiving several prestigious awards and scholarships. Samra now serves as an alumni governor for the university, while pursuing a successful corporate career and running Brave Beginnings, the NPO she founded to support abuse survivors. She frequently lectures on gender equality at many prestigious universities, including Yale. Her speaking portfolio includes two TEDx talks, as well as engagements with Amnesty International, ME to WE, Women’s Business Network, and many major corporations, associations, and non-profits across North America and beyond. Her 2017 TEDx Talk was named an all-time top 10 talk on gender-based violence. In 2017, Samra penned an article about her personal journey for Toronto Life which became the most-read article in Canada that year and earned a nomination for the National Magazine Awards. Samra’s work has been featured in prominent media, including CTV, CBC, Global News, Yahoo, and many others. A Good Wife is Samra’s first book. She lives in Mississauga with her two daughters.

On Festival Sunday Samra Zafar will be part of our “With Great Fortitude” set at The Meadow from 3:15-4:15.

Photo credit: Emily D Photography

A Good Wife

At 15, Samra Zafar had big dreams for herself. She was going to go to university, and forge her own path. Then with almost no warning, those dreams were pulled away from her when she was suddenly married to a stranger at 17 and had to leave behind her family in Pakistan to move to Canada. Her new husband and his family promised that the marriage and the move would be a fulfillment of her dream, not a betrayal of it. But as the walls of their home slowly became a prison, Samra realized the promises were empty ones. Desperate to get out, and refusing to give up, she hatched an escape plan for herself and her two daughters. Somehow she found the strength to not only build a new future, but to walk away from her past, ignoring the pleas of her family and risking cultural isolation by divorcing her husband. A Good Wife tells her harrowing and inspiring story, following her from a young girl with big dreams, through finding strength in the face of oppression and then finally battling through to empowerment.