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Help Afghan National Women Cyclists Get Equipment

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Afghanistan’s National Women Cycling Team, although has limited access to good equipment, is among the most active sport teams in Afghanistan and the Afghan Olympic Committee. Not only the women who are part of the national team, but also those who are part of the federation are trying their hardest to a) compete in national and international competitions, and b) to normalize the culture of cycling for women in Afghanistan. In fact, cycling for women is not only a type of sport, but it is also a very strong act of bravery. Thus, it is undeniable that whether it’s accepted or not, these Afghan women cyclists are human rights activists at the same time. One of Afghanistan’s male cyclist states, “as an Afghan male cyclist, I can count on my fingertips the number of Afghan women I know who ride a bicycle. But that is, perhaps, an underestimation. There is a difference between girls who ride and girls who can ride. In a society whose people overwhelmingly oppose the idea of women turning a pedal, the true number of Afghan female cyclists could be far higher than we know; they simply escape the naked eye, because we have made the streets too dangerous for them to ride.”
Regardless of the challenges, these Afghan women continue riding in hopes of normalizing the cycling culture, getting better, and in fact, in hopes of peace. Many of them have constantly had horrifying accidents that have put them under a lot of pressure to get back up, but they love this sport and this path, so they get right back up, nevertheless. A couple of the National Team members have also competed and placed good positions in cycling competitions around the world; 5 members of the team, namely Masooma Alizada, Zahra Alizada, Zhala Sarmast, Frozan Rasooli, and Malika Yousufi competed in South Asian Cycling Competition and Le Albigeoise where they placed 2nd and 3rd positions. All that is to state that if the team is supported well, they will not only continue being the pioneers of this sport’s culture in the country, but they will also raise Afghanistan’s flag worldwide.
Many of the challenges that the team faces are dealt with by the management and federation. However, unfortunately, the federation and management themselves face various challenges when it comes to promoting cycling culturally and professionally in Afghanistan. The challenges go far beyond perspective and finances, but they lay the foundation of other circumstances. At the moment, financial circumstances are what bounds the girls and the federation from moving forward very well. They don’t have access to good equipment and considering the fact they live in an economically fragile country, Afghanistan, many of the members don’t come from families that are financially stable. For instance, a good bike along with its shoes, pedals, wheels, clothes, etc. would at least cost $2000 and many cannot afford it. In fact, for many families, $2000 is the income of their family’s entire year. Hence, the dream of becoming a cyclist remains just a dream for many. On the other side, cycling is still a sport that attracts many in the country. Over the last couple of years, more girls have started to join the team and slowly become part of the national team. It is extremely disappointing not to be able to support those girls with dreams of becoming champions one day. Therefore, as the Afghanistan’s National Cycling Federation, we have organized this fundraising that if successful, we will use to help the members get necessary equipment.
We do want to state that if anyone cannot donate an amount, but can donate first or second-hand equipment, they are also more than welcome to do so. Every little counts. Please do support if you can and spread the word with people who you know can be of help.
Afghanistan’s National Women Cycling Federation

Organizer and beneficiary

Afghanistan Women Cycling
Manassas, VA
Anwar Mayar

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