Report: August 2008
I spent the month of August in Afghanistan checking on the various projects funded by the Afghan Women’s Fund. Below is a report of this trip to our friends and supporters.
Logar Province: We dedicated the girl school in Kulangar. The villagers and some officials gathered to celebrate the opening of this school and life of Sher Mohamad Khan, he worked so hard to see it completed. The students and their parents were very thankful to those who made this possible.
The AWF provided the students and teachers’ with desks and chairs, a teachers meeting room, and a principle’s office plus supplies. The school has over 600 students and more students are expected.
The Malalai girl’s school in the village of Deh Now, Mohamad Agha District of Logar is almost finished with only doors, windows and boundary walls to complete. The Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore sponsors this school. I was told early this month the school would be completed following Ramadan and open to the girls by the end of October. We still need to raise money for the furniture and school supplies for the school.
We also started four literacy classes in Logar.
We started a women’s shora (cooperative) in the Charkh District and bought sewing machines, fabric, embroidery and tailing supplies for their use. We started four sewing classes and four literacy classes in this district.
Wardak: The girl’s elementary school in Onkhai, funded by Circle of Women, is also near completion. This school will enroll over 600 students and eventually include a middle school.
The women’s shora and literacy classes are doing very well there. These women could not read and write a year ago but on this visit, they proudly showed their new reading and math abilities to me. Some who never had an income in their entire life are now earning a one after attending our vocational training classes.
Mir Bacha Kot: Our computer classes in the girl’s high school are doing very well. They are eager to learn more and very grateful to the Afghan Women’s Fund for their help and support.
Our clinic, built by the generous donation of The Sunshine Ladies Foundation and the support of the locals is very successful. While taking medical supplies to them, the doctors and nurse welcomed me with great news of the changes in the life of the villagers. To date, all the babies born in the clinic have survived.
Laghman: Our girl’s school in Laghman is still holding computer classes and since we have only few computers, wanted to get more since the desire for learning is great.
The clinic in Laghman Surkhakan is almost finished. Thank you for helping us purchase the doors and windows. The windows were installed in early August just before I left for Afghanistan.
Heart: Zendajan women’s shora continue to progress. Projects such as weaving silk shawls and carpets, embroidering scarves and dresses, canning of fruits and vegetable and baking goods for sale are blooming. I spoke with three women in the Zendajan shora and they each said the shora changed their lives. They feel a sense of self worth since learning to read and write and learning skills that puts food on the table for their families.
The women shoras and the literacy classes in Karoch, Guzara, Injeel, Robat and Neysan continue to learn and add to their skills. The Guzara shora’s literacy classes are doing very well and the women we helped with supplies and equipment to start their own business are now generating an income.
The schools in Injeel and Salihabad, (Khwahari and Partau), are growing. Their computer classes are doing very well and in the evenings, adults gather to socialize and attend classes.
Baghlan: The Poza Eishan women’s shora continue with their literacy classes and sewing classes and will soon be self-sufficient. They have been making crafts for Eads and other occasions to sell to the locals.
We are mourning the loss of our friend and supporter Malalai Kakar, a women’s right activist and brave police officer from Kandahar who was recently assassinated. The struggle is long and the path is dangerous but I will continue my work. You, who support me emotionally and financially, giving your time, energy, and expertise to this noble cause, always inspire me. I thank you for this. Our team will win because our cause is just. We are proud of our work and delighted when we see the changes in the lives of those desperate, oppressed women. We feel privileged to help them and can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Many blessings to you and please continue to support me in this journey.
Fahima Vorgetts (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Board Member, Women for Afghan Women
Director, Afghan Women’s Fund
To support our projects, please send a tax-deductible check to:
WAW / AWF
c/o Mary Ellen Bobb (email@example.com)
978 Yachtsman Way, Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Note from the volunteers:
During her most recent trip to Afghanistan (Aug-Sept), Fahima narrowly escaped being kidnapped. In order to protect the security and privacy of the local people who were affected we are not including names or locations.
Because Fahima was ill she stayed behind in town to rest, while one of our teachers drove to outlying village to pick up three local women’s Shora leaders and bring them back to town to meet with her. On the way back, their car was stopped by armed men. They were looking for Fahima by name, to kidnap her for ransom. They beat the women severely, but in the end realized from their accents that none was Fahima. They then left the women at the side of the road and kidnapped the teacher to hold for ransom.
The women found their way to a nearby village and were given a ride back to their homes. All three are healthy and recovering, and all three are continuing their work in the shoras with the support of their families. “They tried to stop women from progressing, but we will keep going,” said one.
The teacher was released after 26 days of negotiations between the kidnappers and his family. He is recovering at his family’s home from his injuries and trauma. The kidnappers have not been identified or located, although local authorities are investigating.
Fahima is back in the U.S., shaken and upset, but resolute, “I am more determined than ever to continue my work and to not let these few criminals win.” She will be redoubling her security precautions during trips to Afghanistan. She will also continue to delegate responsibility for local projects to capable local women. This forms strong partnerships, further hones their leadership skills, and decentralizes AWF’s work. It therefore both benefits the projects and minimizes the risks to any one person.
Kidnapping for ransom has become more common in some parts of Afghanistan and is traumatic for each person and family affected. While the individuals and shoras affected by this incident are resolved to continue their work, they would greatly appreciate your support. Hosting a fundraiser or making a donation to help expand their work is always welcome. Additionally, your personalnote of support to the teacher and the three leaders and their shoras would greatly bolster their morale.
If you would like to send a note, please email it to:
After translating, we will send the notes to them. Please keep your notes brief to facilitate translation.
Click here to see Fahima's previous report for June 2008
Click here to see Fahima's previous report for August/September 2007
Click here to see Fahima's previous report for June 2007
Click here to see Fahima's previous report for December 2006
Click here to see Fahima's previous report for Spring/Summer 2006
Click here to see Fahima's previous report for Summer 2005
Click here to see Fahima's previous report for September 2004
Click here to see Fahima's previous report for the Afghan Women's Fund
Click here to see Fahima's report from September 2003
Click here to see Fahima's report from February 2003