Sara Sadresfahani-Beck arrived from Iran only two years ago and began volunteering at the NY Community Center in early 2012. Sara has supported many of WAW NY's empowerment programs and is responsible for the expansion and enhancement of the women's computer classes. Even with a busy schedule and an hour-long commute, Sara is committed to volunteering as long as she can. The personal relationships she has built with the women and children are a great source of inspiration and fulfillment: "I think I get more of this than they do!"
Ines Talla, Traveled from Paris, France to serve as WAW Development Intern for Summer 2013: "Coming to NY from France for my internship at WAW was certainly one of the best decisions I have made recently. Not only have I gained invaluable skills and knowledge through my work here, but I have also met wonderful people who I really hope to stay in touch with. I am an activist for women's rights and therefore I couldn't think of a better way to spend my summer than to help in the fight for gender equality in Afghanistan, with such amazing and passionate people by my side."
Tatianna Rodrigues, Traveled from Morocco to serve as WAW Development Intern for Summer 2013: "WAW is an amazing organization. Besides the very real impact WAW has on the lives of so many Afghan women and children, the organization itself is comprised of such passionate workers. Here in the Queens office it is inspiring to see committed personnel dedicate their time to promote this cause. I am proud to have worked with such a talented group, and to have been part of WAW's mission to further human rights and women's rights in Afghanistan."
Marisa Demko, ESL Teacher Volunteer: "Working with Women for Afghan Women has been an incredible experience and opportunity to learn and share with amazing women from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The organization not only provides an open, comfortable environment for the women and their children to learn English and the path to American citizenship, but also to share their beautiful culture and lives with us. Though I am contributing my time there as a teacher, I feel more like a friend and member of a close community with the women and fantastic volunteers."
Emma Charap, GLP Volunteer: A senior at Fiorello High School of Music and Art, Emma Charap volunteered her whole summer at WAW NY. She worked with staff and youth to design and plan the fall 2012 Girl's Leadership Program (GLP) curriculum, including an original skit written with Afghan girls from the Fresh Meadows community. WAW is extremely appreciative of Emma's devotion and dedication to the GLP and the other WAW NY programs she participated in this summer. Emma will be continuing to take a leadership role in the GLP this fall.
Ariana Gould, Children's Tutoring Volunteer: March 2012 Ariana joined WAW NY through New York Cares as a tutor for our weekly Homework Help program. Over the summer she helped organize and run summer tutoring sessions for the children of WAW's adult students. This fall she is taking on more responsibility by becoming a New York Cares Team Leader and managing the volunteers that WAW relies on to help children with homework assignments, tutor them in basic math and reading comprehension skills, and prepare them for New York state tests.
"I am a student at Hunter College studying peace and conflict resolution and human rights. I love working with kids and am very proud to have contributed to the WAW homework help program. WAW is a great program that helps many people and I'm glad to have been a small part of it."
Elizabeth Holmes, Social Media Volunteer: "I saw the video of a girl being beaten by a circle of men after running away from her marriage at a young age, I knew I needed to help. I looked up the organization that was helping her and others like her, and it was Women for Afghan Women. WAW got me involved with their Social Media and advocacy. WAW is such an important organization that gives a safe space in an otherwise unsafe environment for these women. It was their commitment to education and a safe space for healing that made me get involved, but it is their dedication to reconciliation among communities and families that keeps me involved with them. Their sustainable work in Afghanistan as well as Queens is the reason I continue to support them and give my time to help spread the word about their cause and the plight of women in Afghanistan through Social Media."
Rachel Giuliani, E-Newsletter Designer: "I volunteer for WAW because they give women and children a voice, a reason to hope, and safe haven. WAW truly puts women's needs first in a place where human rights are often a political bargaining chip. Every woman and man who becomes a part of WAW stands in unwavering defiance of systematic violence to women's lives and bodies-- and the political and social culture that excuses it."
Jen Morgan, Graphic Design Volunteer: "I am a computer graphic artist living in Vancouver, Canada. The rights of women around the world is a cause that I care deeply about, so I'm very proud to be able to volunteer my skills and time to an organization that is doing such important work."
Mie-Na Srein, Campus Organizer: "I organized an event and fundraiser at Seton Hall University and helped create the WAW petition to save the women's shelters. I am happy to serve a really remarkable organization and the extraordinarily brave Afghan women who have suffered deeply, but have not lost hope. The most important thing is for them to know that they are loved, and for them to have a greater chance to shape their own future."
Stephan Shaw, Website and Database Designer: "Little did I know that by marrying WAW co-founder Sunita Viswanath, I was inheriting a full-time volunteer position with her incredible organization. Volunteering for WAW is both humbling and exalting and I feel very privileged to be part of the organization."
Betsy Snowden, Development Volunteer: "I am proud to be a grant writer for the Community Outreach Program in Queens, NY. WAW's work is so inspiring because the road to social equality and the abolishment of misogynistic customs is both arduous and daunting, but WAW trudges onward united, undeterred, and proudly bearing scars and success stories. WAW is a team that continues to fight for women's rights because we share a common, achievable vision of happy, harmonious communities through social equality and opportunity. I won't ever give up fighting for women without a voice, and neither will they."