Zarifa Ghafari , Afghan activist and politician who was chosen as anInternational Woman of Courage in 2020 by the US Secretary of State, is fundraising to support 5000 Afghan women with food packages and free maternity health care services.
Afghanistan has one of the highest proportions of widows (estimated 2 million) globally compared with the size of its population. Three decades of conflict—from the Soviet invasion to Taliban Regimes—have left millions of women without husbands, alone in a country that considers widows to be bad omens, and where few women are literate and very few have livelihood options. They are also generally denied a share of land and property, even though these rights are recognized in the Afghan constitution.
In August 2021, the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, shutting women out of the workforce and keeping girls from going to school. The prohibition of women from operation as aid workers has worsened the humanitarian crises and women-headed households are definitely the most affected.
The donations will be used to deliver the food packages to 5000 widow women responsible for their families and start a free maternity health care services centre. For this cause, Zarifa has started an NGO -APAW - that operates in 5 provinces: Kabul, Wardak, Ghazni, Ningarhar and Mazarsharif.
After successfully launching and operating a women-focused radio station, Afghanistan’s Zarifa Ghafari became mayor of Maidan Shar, in conservative Wardak province, at the age of 26. When she showed up to start work, a male mob appeared, and she was forced to flee. Despite death threats, Ms Ghafari came back, defying her conservative critics and their narrative that a woman is unfit to lead. She then withstood a walkout by all of the male members of her office. She later demonstrated ability and courage in tackling her town’s problems. Despite fierce opposition from vested interests, she successfully launched a “Clean City, Green City” campaign that reduced littering. Ghafari’s courage has inspired girls and women not only in her community and the wider province but across the country. In her capacity as a trail-blazer and door-opener for a new generation of young women, she has helped empower the women of Afghanistan.
Zarifa received several international awards (Rumi Award 2020, Badass 50 2020, One Young World Politician 2020 and One Young World Politician of the Year 2020, Oxi Courage 2021 and Hawar.help Human Rights Award 2021). The BBC listed her as one of the 100 inspirational and influential women from around the world in 2019. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s Government in mid-August 2021, Zarifa fled with her husband, mother, and three sisters. She now resides in Germany.
Assistance and Promotion of Afghan Women (APAW) has been established as Afghan women, non for profit under the law of NGO in the Ministry of Economics. APAW main aim is to help and improve afghan communities' lives for both women and children by facilitating awareness, education, development, workshop, and conferences. We are also working to strengthen Afghan women's social, economic, and political conditions through raising awareness, capacity building, job creation, and creating various kinds of other opportunities.
All program is transparent and shares information management for improving efficiency and accountability within the women organization and development community. We are working to increase development effectiveness by aligning resources with national strategies and expanding the capacity of women in the capital. Through the country, APAW exists first to build women capacity and promote women life in Kabul and then provide and extend services to the provinces women communities and the broader development community.
Organizer and beneficiary
Mohammad Bashir Mohammadi