The targeting of women activists is part of a larger effort to pushback on the gains that women have made over 2 decades. Women human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists are especially vulnerable because they are publicly known and have no place to hide in their own cities. Some have been forced to leave their homes and take refuge in other cities where they are not known and have some safety, where they wait for a reduction in violence or more durable and safer alternatives. We want to help these women who have for years fought for equality, justice and peace in Afghanistan, often at great cost to themselves and their loved ones.
We started this campaign to stand in solidarity with displaced women activists and their families and to help offset their cost of housing, including hotels and daily expenses. The Campaign will benefit the work of Free Women Writers, a registered non-profit 501(c)3, made up of writers and students and activists who support women’s rights in Afghanistan. Free women writers will work with FEMENA, also a non-profit organization, to identify women human rights defenders at risk for support, which may include some of the following actions:
· Paying for the cost of their stays in hotels or guest houses in cities other than their own. We have arrangements made with guesthouses and will make payment to guesthouses in Europe.
· Support to those who need to pay for daily expenses of food and other expenses while in hiding. We will make these payments through money grams or Venmo to individuals.
· Support for visa applications, we will pay visa costs for those seeking to leave the country. These payments will be largely online to embassies.
· Support to offset the travel costs of activists who are seeking to leave the country, by purchasing bus and other tickets, or paying for taxis. These transfers will take place through money grams or payments in European countries.
· Stay (hotel and daily expenses of activists and their families) in 3rd countries where they are awaiting relocations, this includes Turkey, India, Qatar, for example.
· Emergency support for evacuation from Afghanistan, medical expenses or relocation costs.
Thus far, we have provided support to activists to pay for their stays in guesthouses (in Afghanistan, paid in Europe), pay for visas costs (India and Pakistan Embassies online), emergency medical support to an activist who was beaten up by a mob in India (Western Union Transfer), support to offset the cost of food and daily expenses of activists who are taking care of their children alone and need help (in Afghanistan paid through guesthouse owners in Europe).
Let us collectively tell these women that their efforts over the years to bring about progress in Afghanistan is appreciated and we stand with them and their hopes and dreams during these unprecedented and difficult times.
“We” stands for a group of Afghan women activists, inside Afghanistan and outside, who along with other women activists across the world are collecting funds to support internally displaced colleagues, and those who need to leave Afghanistan to ensure their safety.
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