March 8, 2012
Dear WAW Supporters,
Wishing a wonderful International Women’s Day to all of you and to women and girls all over the world.
I am infused with hope on this International Women’s Day.
A small group of grassroots Afghan women’s organizations is collaborating on a daily basis now – we discuss serious cases, address the needs together, and strategically share the work of pursuing justice for women and girls whose rights have been violated. I don’t feel isolated in this work – I feel we have a small but strong movement of Afghan women leaders, advocates and service providers. Our new coalition includes: Afghan Women’s Network, Afghan Women’s Skills Development Center, Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan, Afghan Women’s Resource Center, Educational & Training Center for Poor Women and Girls of Afghanistan and women’s rights advocates Wazhma Frogh and Palwasha Hassan.
Furthermore, after the struggle last year for the autonomy of women’s shelters--a struggle we won--our coalition is enjoying a much stronger working partnership with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and all its divisional offices. We have a community—indeed, a movement--of colleagues and sisters with whom we can share resources and ideas and brainstorm solutions to our toughest challenges. For instance, we are collaborating in sensitive, behind the scenes advocacy to counter a recent resolution by the Ulema Council (Afghanistan’s religious leaders) which severely inhibits women’s rights. We believe that together, we will be successful in reversing this resolution.
|Queens Community Center Field Trip to Manhattan|
WAW’s Family Guidance Centers in Afghanistan are also stronger than ever. WAW is one the first organizations that are called upon when there is a serious case. WAW has worked on hundreds of cases in these first three months of 2012. Here are just three examples:
|Manizha with Mumtaz in Kabul after her hospital stay in India|
Mumtaz was sprayed with acid and had burns over 42 % of her body. She was attacked when she refused a marriage proposal. We were able to send her to India for treatment thanks to donations from generous individuals in Kabul and also the gracious offer of the Indian government to cover her medical bills. Mumtaz would have died in Kabul. When she arrived in India, infection had already started in her wounds. Mumtaz received wonderful care in India and recently returned to Kabul where she is under our care, and staying in one of our shelters. Mumtaz will need extensive plastic surgery to repair the scars on her face, but for now, she is resting after her immense ordeal. In about five months, we will send her back to India for more surgery.
Sahar Gul was tortured and imprisoned for 5 months by her husband and in-laws. She was barely alive when she was rescued from their basement. She is now in a Kabul hospital. WAW has provided her with full-time caregiver and one of our lawyers is representing her. We are hoping that she will be released soon from the hospital so that she can recuperate in our shelter.
Marzia was beaten and kicked so badly that her spleen burst and she had a miscarriage. She came to our shelter bleeding from her mouth and nose. Tragically Marzia died, but WAW and other organizations took up a strong advocacy campaign on her behalf. After a few weeks, we were able to gather evidence and have her husband arrested. We have the support of the Ministry of Health, the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Interior and the Governor in this case. WAW hopes that Marzia’s husband will be convicted and will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Immense thanks to all who voted in the Women Deliver 50 competition. WAW is one of 50 winners chosen from many hundreds of organizations. That is, we have been voted to be among the top 50 women’s organizations in the world today delivering smart, strategic and compassionate solutions to the struggles of women and girls to attain their human rights.
What a vote of confidence to receive on International Women’s Day!
With great hope for the future,