Afghan women fighting for their civil rights and seeking empowerment through education, away from the Taliban regime, surely fit this description. The situation in Afghanistan has become increasingly dangerous in the past years, particularly for women and girls who are seeking an education. As of last fall, girls can no longer study after their twelfth birthday, as the Taliban’s 2021 takeover has made it impossible for them to continue their studies and achieve their dreams.
You Can Make A Difference
You Can Make A Difference
You Can Make A Difference
You Can Make A Difference
You Can Make A Difference
You Can Make A Difference
You can make a difference
Due to the high demand for Canada’s humanitarian programs for Afghanistan, she was unable to apply before her program filled up overnight. Fortunately, she was able to escape Kabul to a safe third country and escape the Taliban, who had threatened her life because of her social involvement.
Private sponsorships of refugees in Canada can currently take more than five years, and Sooriya does not have that kind of time. The country that took her in only allowed her to enter temporarily for a study program that is about to expire and she will not be allowed to stay longer.
In order to help her, we needed to find a quick solution, while allowing Sooriya to continue her courageous work for her country. Fortunately, she was admitted to the University of Ottawa in a Master’s program in Public and International Affairs, where the institution even awarded her a special scholarship based on her exceptional background. Education offers her a way out and we want to help her take it.
Because she would be coming to Canada as an international student, immigration guidelines require that she demonstrate her financial ability to support herself and pay the balance of her tuition in order to obtain her study permit. This is where our community comes in.
Muhaddesa has always been a strong advocate for women’s rights. In 2018, she joined a non-profit organization where her work focused on two main issues: combating violence against women and putting an end to early and forced marriages. Muhaddesa organized awareness campaigns, led peer support groups and held seminars that promoted gender equality. She also organized and hosted workshops for Kabul’s Women’s Association from 2019 to 2021.
The Taliban’s increasingly restrictive policies have turned her world upside down. Her suffering has only increased her determination to speak out and raise awareness. However, her efforts put her in great danger. In hiding, Muhaddesa continues to volunteer at medical clinics and help Afghan families. She gives them free injections and blood pressure checks that they otherwise could not afford.
Muhaddesa hopes to continue her studies in nursing. She especially wants to help those patients who cannot afford treatments by offering them free care. Dr. Ghaffar, for whom she worked at a hospital in Kabul, is a true inspiration for her. His dedication to providing free surgeries and services for disadvantaged children made her realize how valuable learning these skills could be to her community.
Mitra has fought to improve the status of women in Afghanistan for many years. From 2018 to 2021, she was an administrator for the Farahi Women's Solidarity Social Organization. She also worked as an advisor to the governor of Farah province, raising community awareness on education and women's rights, and as the manager of Sistan Magazine at the Farah Information and Culture Department.
She graduated from high school in 2014, going on to study at the Farah Teacher Training College for two years. While completing her studies, she also worked as a teacher at a private school in Farah. But her ambition didn’t let her stop there. Instead, she started her bachelor's degree in economics.
When the Taliban returned to power in 2021, she had just started the fourth year of her bachelor's degree, after receiving an award from her university for obtaining the best marks in the entire economics faculty. However, she was never able to complete her degree due to the nation-wide ban on school attendance imposed on women by the Taliban.
For The Refugees aims to support Mitra in completing her bachelor’s degree in economics. Afterward, she would also like to pursue a master's degree to help work towards her goal of one day starting her own company. This would allow her to become financially independent, while also empowering other Afghan women by providing them with employment opportunities. Before the Taliban took over, she had started working towards this goal as president of her own construction and road-building company. Mitra is convinced that the knowledge and diplomas she will acquire abroad will give her the credibility and skills to be an engine of positive change for her country. She also intends to continue to be involved with non-profit organizations that defend women's rights.
Nadia used her legal background to get involved as a women’s rights activist at a young age. She worked with domestic and foreign media to share her story and that of so many other suffering Afghan women. She appeared on Afghan television (TOLONews) and was featured in a newspaper story written by the Polish journalist Jagoda Grondecka in August 2022. Nadia will not stop fighting until Afghanistan becomes a place where women have the freedom to go to school and can dream of becoming anything they want.
She is currently teaching English and other high school subjects online in hiding to Afghan women so they do not fall too far behind in their education. Despite facing frequent electricity shortages, she finds creative ways to keep giving her classes. Her teaching initiative and advocacy efforts against the Taliban put her life at great risk. Her Christian faith further heightens her risk of persecution and even execution.
Nadia still dreams of getting a journalism degree. She firmly believes that education can empower women to voice their opinions and to bring about positive change. She is determined to make a difference in Afghanistan.
Despite this setback, she never gave up on her dream of going to dental school. She studied until late at night despite her lamp attracting all kinds of insects. Tooba recalls being stung many times by scorpions. To get to her classes, she had to walk for two hours in extreme 45-degree heat. Her efforts paid off when she was admitted to the most prestigious university in Afghanistan in Kabul, where she chose to study dentistry.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and confinement was imposed, she was unable to continue her studies. With no internet access or electronic device, she could not follow her classes. Then, in 2021, the Taliban took over and all women were officially banned from going to university.
To this day, Tooba continues to believe in the power of education. She hopes to complete a program in health sciences abroad to be able to help her family and all Afghan women who can no longer consult male physicians. She wants to make a difference and has the courage, intelligence and determination to do so.
Once the Taliban enforced a nation-wide ban on women’s pursuit of higher education, her dreams of furthering her studies were crushed. However, she was grateful to be one of the few women that found meaningful employment approved by the Taliban. In 2022, she became a livelihood officer for War Child Canada (WCC). Through this role, Munira worked on the World Food Program’s projects in Afghanistan. However, as of April 2023, all women were also banned from working for the United Nations and Munira was forced to resign.
Munira finds the measures imposed by the Taliban outrageous and is worried that each new rule is becoming more and more oppressive, especially to women.
She remains determined to help Afghanistan transform into an egalitarian society, and refuses to give up on this dream. It is this commitment that drives her opposition to the Taliban. To this day, she continues to organize lessons to teach Afghan women how to read. She also helped establish a network of safe houses that help and protect Afghan interpreters and veterans who are targeted by the Taliban for their service to Canada. Munira works hard to provide them with medical care, administering COVID-19 vaccines, caring for trauma victims and much more. Munira has, so far, looked after over 1,700 patients, including the elderly, children, and pregnant women.
For The Refugees is committed to helping Munira complete her studies in Canada, so she can become a cardiologist and achieve her dream of running her own clinic in Afghanistan.
This traumatic experience motivated Mahdia to continue her mother's mission. In 2018, she established the Women's Association in Kabul's Third District, an organization committed to combating domestic abuse and forced marriages. She also helped develop educational materials and workshops for over one hundred other women’s rights advocacy programs.
Mahdia completed six years of her medical degree at one of the most prestigious universities in Afghanistan in Kabul. Her goal was to become a doctor, helping improve the lives of Afghan women by providing them with medical treatment and educating them about their health rights. Her dream was shattered on August 15, 2021, when Kabul fell into the hands of the Taliban. Mahdia's involvement as an activist and her affiliation with the persecuted Hazara Sadat (a Shia ethnic minority) left her especially vulnerable. After months of living in hiding, she escaped to a neighbouring country on January 13, 2022. However, even there, Mahdia isn't safe.
In that host country, the Hazara community has been targeted by extremists for the past three decades. Moreover, all Afghan refugees without proper documentation, like Mahdia, are consistently at risk of being deported. As a result, they are forced to live in hiding and to endure harsh conditions. According to Human Rights Watch, female Afghan refugees in her host country suffer from high rates of exploitation, gender based violence and are unable to access basic services such as medical treatment.
Even in these difficult conditions, furthering her education remains a priority for Mahdia. She dedicates four hours each day to studying English online. For The Refugees is committed to helping Mahdia complete her studies in a safe environment in Canada. This will allow her to pursue her passion for medicine and contribute positively to her community as a doctor. Mahdia hopes to specifically help treat women who, under sharia law, are banned from visiting male doctors since January 10, 2023.
Passionate about learning, Niloofar strongly opposes the Taliban’s ban on women pursuing higher education. Despite her hardships, Niloofar continues to follow online English classes in hiding and actively takes part in advocacy efforts. She joined the Watan Youth Warrior Organization in September of 2017 and became a human rights activist for the Dorakhshan Civil Association in March, 2022.
Her firm stance against the Taliban puts her at great risk of execution. Fearing for her life, she eventually fled to a neighboring host country. However, officials in that host country are no longer authorized to issue asylum seeker cards or residence permits to newly arrived Afghans. Without these documents, Niloofar cannot access essential public services like healthcare and education. Furthermore, she cannot legally rent accommodation or work. Ongoing deportation efforts against Afghan refugees force her to live in hiding.
For the Refugees aims to support Niloofar in pursuing further education in Canada, where she can also find safety. Once she completes her studies, Niloofar is determined to return to her country and pursue her dream of becoming Afghanistan’s first Minister of Development. She hopes that once she graduates, the Taliban will be driven out. If not, she will look for work within international organizations, in order to continue helping the women of her country.
Samira has been fighting to continue her studies since she was 12 years old. Her brothers were always against her continuing her schooling, but she persevered. By studying at night and borrowing books she couldn’t afford from her classmates, she managed to pass her university entrance exam. Then, during the four years of her bachelor’s degree in sociology, she taught primary school in the morning, went to university in the afternoon and then helped her mother sew until late at night. In 2013, she finally graduated.
Despite her desire to pursue a master's degree, societal and family pressures forced her to marry. Her husband's family refused to allow her to continue attending university for more than 6 years. She finally obtained a divorce in 2021. Her husband only agreed so he could marry other women.
As a way of rebelling against her traditional environment, she got involved in many organizations aimed at empowering women, promoting education, and gender equality. She worked for the organization Green Wish for Afghanistan Educational and Services Organizations (USAID- AWDP project). Samira was also involved in the Civil Society and Human Rights Network and worked as a program officer for the Social Forum Hope Association. Finally, before the fall of Kabul in 2021, she was the social organizer for Coordination of Afghan Relief (COAR). Her proficiency in English helped her take on all these roles.
Samira strongly believes in the power of education. She intends to become a leader in her field, a teacher and a published author, with the ultimate goal of participating in the emancipation of Afghan women.
With your help, we can provide them with the necessary financial support to cover their education, housing, and living expenses while they settle into their new lives in Canada — until they quickly reach a level of financial autonomy. Your donation will also help us cover government-related costs for the issuance of their study permits, and plane tickets to Canada.
Our team at For the Refugees is committed to working closely with partners and Canadian authorities to ensure these young women can access all the resources and support they need to start their new lives. We are also partnering with local organizations and educational institutions to provide these young women with mentorship, counseling, and career guidance.
Finally, we want to create new alliances with different Canadian universities and partners in order to give these women access to lower tuition fees and scholarships so that we may lower their financial burden and help make their education a true path forward for their future, as well as the future of Canada and Afghanistan.
We believe that education is a fundamental human right and that everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, should have access to it. By contributing to our fundraising campaign at For the Refugees, you are not only supporting the education of young Afghan women but also helping to build a more just and equitable world. Educated women are the most powerful tool in any society!
Please consider making a donation today and help us at For the Refugees make a difference in the lives of these young women. Together, we can make a brighter future for all.
Thank you for your support.