Days after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, UN experts released a statement from the High Commissioner for Human Rights warning of the deteriorating human rights situation, and the reversal of decades of work to advance human rights and gender equality in Afghanistan.
“Today, reports from 16 provinces continue to show that the majority of women are experiencing the same rights violations as 20 years ago at the control of the Taliban, including the forced wearing of a Burka, forced marriage, restriction on freedom of movement and required use of a mahram, prohibition on working and restricted access to health care, education and more,” the statement said.
Throughout its 5,000-year history, Afghan women have achieved incredible things and were in leadership roles far before the West, such as Gawharshad Begum in the 15th century who was a minister that championed arts and culture in her country.
To secure gender equality now, however, Afghan women do not need pity or sympathy, but the support of the international community to amplify their voices and build a secure environment to allow them to flourish.
Here are a few quick and simple ways you can help support women in Afghanistan:
Support women journalists to hear their voices
To get educated, make sure to support on-the-ground journalism that speaks directly with Afghan women and reports their circumstances and challenges.
These include Rukhshana Media, an independent outlet committed to spotlighting Afghan women’s voices and stories and is currently asking for help to continue their work. You can also support the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, which is currently seeking donations to keep as many independent media outlets as possible operating.
You should also check out the media outlet Sahar Speaks, which works on nurturing Afghan female reporters and shares real stories of women in Afghanistan. Currently, they are doing a partnership with The Fuller Project, which is an international nonprofit news outlet, dedicated to enterprise and investigative reporting on women, as well as the stories of female journalists attempting to flee the country.
To support organizations and women’s rights advocates, you can check out Women’s Regional Network’s digital fundraising campaign to fund the work of women’s rights advocates in Afghanistan. At the moment, the funds are prioritized for ensuring safe and dignified evacuation, moving people to safety, and any other security measures needed for protection.
To invest in initiatives focussed on women and girls’ education, there are organizations such as Malala Fund and Afghan Women’s Educational Centre.
The United Nations Refugee Agency is also working to help those fleeing settle and feel safe in neighboring countries, and is currently looking for donations to keep working. Children Without Borders is also supporting displaced families with means to survive, which you can donate and support here.
The International Rescue Committee has also been in Afghanistan since 1988, is currently seeking to raise $10 million “to ensure our teams can continue to deliver lifesaving aid in areas of conflict, as well as to provide emergency cash assistance and protection services for internally displaced people in Kabul.”
You can also support the Afghan Institute of Learning, which works on providing education, particularly for women and girls, that is integrated with good health care and health education.
Wellness Worldwide is another Afghan women-led organization, which provides food aid packages and medical aid for Afghans inside the country as well as those that are currently displaced.
If you are currently an Egyptian or (any other nationality) living in the US, then this is a great opportunity for you to support Afghan refugees. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is currently asking for volunteers to support incoming Afghan refugees, which includes airport pick-ups, apartment set-ups or providing meals.
Muslim Aid USA (MAUSA) also provides humanitarian assistance to displaced people in Kabul and other provinces in Afghanistan.