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Supporting women and girls

Adela Rahimzadeh, our Programme Officer in Afghanistan, reflects on the amazing achievements of our partner The Afghan Women’s Education Centre (AWEC).

We’ve been tackling illiteracy and women’s rights issues in Afghani society. An incredible 1,200 women and 360 youths are now members of 104 shuras (councils) throughout three provinces in the north-west of Afghanistan.

‘A vital achievement of this project is the increase in women accessing justice…women in Afghanistan don’t only face problems and discrimination within society but also with their own families…how can we say that there is equality when women are threatened within their own family?’

Sixty cases of violence against women have been identified and referred to the justice department. Cultural change is slowly taking place, at village level and within government policy. But the law can only protect women if they are aware of their own rights. This project has educated women about their rights within society. They are now able to support other women and families.

I am also proud of the literacy classes that all of the women involved in the programme have participated in. In Afghanistan, access to education has increased dramatically over the last decade due to a combination of government and internal donor funding.

‘Although this project has only reached a small amount of women and teenage girls comparative to the total population, the fact that women and teenage girls have gained a level of literacy is a huge step forward for society as a whole.’

However, there remains a lack of qualified teachers in many remote, rural areas of the country. In these areas, those who are qualified are predominantly male, a factor that prevents many girls from attending classes.

‘Step by step we are seeing change within the Afghani society’s thoughts of the rights of women and girls. I hope one day for an Afghanistan where women have access to their basic rights and needs and will no longer be forced to accept the idea or behave how our current society demands.’

Thank you for your tireless fundraising for this project. This work couldn’t have happened without you. Please carry on praying for these shuras, that they would continue to support and unite women in north-western Afghanistan. 

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