Outreach and Awareness Programs
Raising awareness of women’s rights.
Women’s Rights are Human Rights
Human Rights are Women’s Rights
This project began when our newly opened Family Guidance Center in Kapisa wasn’t living up to our expectations in terms of client numbers. Manizha sent staff out into the towns and villages of Kapisa, into schools and police stations, to talk about our work. An increase in clients of 160% resulted. We were amazed.
This experience taught us many lessons, all of which we needed to know and act on:
- Women in abusive relationships don’t accept their situation as a woman’s destiny. They will come for help once they know there are dependable services available and within their reach.
- Many people in Afghanistan, polls suggest the majority, support women’s rights. Their history has taught them the costs of suppressing women, and they want their daughters in school. Our clients, male and female alike, are receptive to counseling that teaches them a less harsh version of Islam than what they’ve been fed by ultraconservatives, most of whom are power mongers in disguise. This point contradicts the widespread notion in the U.S. that Afghanistan is irrevocably lost to ancient, misogynist tribal customs.
- Training on women’s rights and direct services for abused women such as the ones WAW offers are two sides of the same coin.
- It’s irresponsible to encourage women to run away from abuse in areas where there are no facilities to protect them.
Our awareness-raising program has trained thousands of Afghans: average men and women, students, personnel in schools and clinics, imams, community leaders, law enforcement officials, members of the thousands of Afghanistan’s Community Development Councils, which are part of the country’s National Solidarity Program.
Awareness-raising binds all our projects together: Family Guidance Centers/shelters, Children’s Support Centers, Halfway Houses. These projects may survive but they won’t thrive in an educational void.