Friends of Afghan Women in Government

Who Will Benefit
This fundraiser aims to help as many former USAID Promote: Women in Government (WIG) staff and interns as possible. The fundraiser is graciously hosted by the Women’s Regional Network as a sub-campaign and led by Rachel Raccuia, former Deputy Chief of Party, and Susanne E Jalbert, Ph.D., former Chief of Party of WIG.

Approximately 204 former staff and just under 4,000 young women interns were part of the WIG program. Most remain in Afghanistan – many in hiding – awaiting any opportunity to evacuate to a safer country.

“We had to leave [our house]. A girl, whose family, like me, worked with Americans and did not leave their house. The girl went out a few days ago to buy food but didn’t return. The next day her body was dumped, and the Taliban said they killed her because they were working with the U.S. That same group asked about me, showing a photo from my media appearance during the Promote Graduation Ceremony. They said my family and I are infidels. My family is hiding in different places now. If the Taliban find us, we will not survive. Please help me get out of here. There's nowhere to hide or be safe." – former WIG intern

Background
The USAID Promote program was the largest women’s empowerment project in U.S. Government history. The program strengthened women’s participation in civil society, boosted female participation in the economy, increased the number of women in decision making positions within the Afghan government, and helped women gain business and management skills.

Unfortunately, when the U.S. Government withdrew from Afghanistan on August 31 and the Taliban took over the country, the incredible strides made by these women and their hopes and dreams were put in utter peril. Between August 16 – August 31, many Afghans were evacuated in the U.S. government’s evacuation efforts, but attention was not paid to the thousands of at-risk Promote staff members and young women who qualified for the evacuation.

Now these former staff members and young women are stranded in Afghanistan without safe passage out of the country. The staff affiliated with Promote were well known in their communities as affiliates of the U.S. Government and now they are some of the most at-risk individuals in Afghanistan given the Taliban government’s stance towards women’s rights. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs – a key counterpart of USAID Promote – has been abolished. Women have been sent home from the government jobs we facilitated. The media has not adequately covered the vulnerability and danger facing Afghan women. Each day we receive firsthand accounts of ongoing threats and abuse from Taliban, Taliban breakoff groups, and ISIS targeting women and those who worked on behalf of the U.S. Government.

Safe passage out of Afghanistan without international support is incredibly difficult and rare. Many individuals don’t have passports, and now, the passport office is only issuing passports to privileged and priority status people (at this time). Many of the passports that were in process for Special Immigration Visas were burned when the U.S. Embassy was shut down. If individuals are lucky enough to have passports, it is still nearly impossible to leave the country. Commercial flights have yet to resume. Many have tried crossing land borders to neighboring countries, but this remains a very dangerous journey, and often costs thousands of dollars to obtain visas or “gate passes” a luxury many families do not have given that banks were frozen for the first few weeks of the takeover, and cash withdrawals remain limited. It is even more difficult for women to cross these borders, especially alone. Once these individuals make it out of Afghanistan, they only have a limited time to stay in the bordering country before they are deported back to Afghanistan.

How Donations Will Help
We are taking matters into our own hands. We will use GoFundMe to hopefully raise at least $1,000,000 as soon as possible, which is enough money to get some of our former USAID Promote: Women in Government colleagues out of the country via a charter. The money we receive through this campaign will support the following:
  • Safe havens in Afghanistan
  • Passports, visas, and safe transportation within Afghanistan
  • Charter plane
  • Third country support to cover visas, lodging, healthcare, etc. until they are allowed entrance into the U.S. through the SIV/P-2 program

Call To Action
We humbly request that you donate an amount you feel comfortable to help us save the lives of our former colleagues and young women. These staff and Afghan women were critical to U.S. foreign policy accomplishments. Now, we must live up to the promises and commitments we made to them and bring them to safety.

Thank you from the Advisory Board for this campaign.
  • Rahila Azimi 
    • $50 
    • 8 hrs
  • Richard Breitenstein 
    • $250 
    • 19 hrs
  • William Jalbert 
    • $100 
    • 13 d
  • Eileen Waldow 
    • $50 
    • 15 d
  • Fawzia Hakim 
    • $30 
    • 18 d
See all

Fundraising team (5)

Rachel Raccuia 
Organizer
Raised $2,357 from 17 donations
Washington D.C., DC
Women's Regional Network 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Learn more
Susanne E Jalbert PhD 
Team member
Raised $2,010 from 13 donations
Aimal Hakim 
Team member
Raised $30 from 1 donation
Lailee Rahimi 
Team member
Sulaiman Raqeeb 
Team member
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