Author: Women for Afghan Women

Nurturing Spirits Indestructible: Women for Afghan Women’s Girls Leadership Program

Just five years ago, Sara would never have imagined she would pursue a graduate degree or even complete her high school education. She came to the United States with her family as refugees, fleeing from the seemingly endless conflict in Afghanistan. She is one of the first participants in Women for Afghan Women’s Girls Leadership Program in New York. Through the program, she was able to advocate for herself and pursue a college education—the first in her family. Currently, she is pursuing a graduate degree in social work, illustrating a tremendous cultural shift that may have been impossible a few years ago. At an event earlier this year, Sara spoke about her experience and moved us all: “Five years ago I thought I would be forced to leave school and get married. Women for Afghan Women inspired and taught me to become a leader. The life I have today is because of this organization.”   This year, Women for Afghan Women turns 15 years old. Founded by a small group of women activists six months …

Women and Girls Who Inspire Us!

March is Women’s History Month, a special time to celebrate and honor women and their achievements around the world. Young Afghan girls participating in Women for Afghan Women’s (WAW) Girls Leadership Program (GLP) marked this month by spending a Saturday afternoon at WAW’s New York Community Center where they shared their thoughts about the women who inspire them. GLP is a leadership and mentoring program for Afghan girls in NY between the ages of 10-14. Girls in GLP take part in various activities including discussions, arts and crafts, field trips, guest presentations and cultural programs that aim to teach them about their rights and culture, and seek to motivate them to become responsible leaders and agents of change in their community. GLP is currently led by two Afghan teens, Gina Rustami and Shabnam Rashedy, who previously participated in the program themselves and were excited to come back and support the next generation of girls from their community. To set the stage, Gina and Shabnam began the conversation by discussing the women in their lives who …

The Story of Women for Afghan Women

In the spring of 2001, six months before 9/11, a group of passionate women’s rights activists came together with the goal of garnering international attention on the plight of Afghan women and girls living under Taliban rule. Little did these extraordinary women know that their efforts to expose the world to the brutalities and injustices of the Taliban period would lead to the founding of one of the leading women’s rights organizations in Afghanistan and the transformation of thousands of lives. Women for Afghan Women (WAW) was founded in 2001. While researching the state of women’s rights in Afghanistan, WAW co-founders quickly learned that Afghan women living in New York were facing similar abuses and isolation as their sisters at home. In order to respond to this crisis, in 2003, WAW opened its New York Community Center. The Center serves under-educated (mostly illiterate) Afghan women immigrants and their families with a multitude of empowerment programs and human services. The same year WAW launched its Community Center to help local Afghans, WAW Executive Director, Manizha Naderi, …