Read more at The Jamileh Kharrazi Official Website!
The halls of American University of Afghanistan are abuzz with the deeds of Afghan women. Their actions have inspired the campus.
The school, set in the center of Kabul, acts as a bearer of change. Interestingly, Afghanistan has traditionally held liberal views of women. In the 1960s, women could be seen walking the streets without a burqa. They worked as teachers and nurses. (The Atlantic)
In the 1980’s, the Soviets invaded and much of the country was destroyed in the struggle. The Mujahideen rose in power. This is the generic term for someone engaged in “jihad” or holy war. Eventually, these groups combined into the Taliban.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from the early 90’s to 2001, when the US invaded. (BBC)
They created very repressive laws. Women had to be with a male guardian if they were outside. They could not go to school or work, and were blamed if they were raped.
Since then, policy changes have made a big difference in the way the country is run. Vitally, the new government, supported by the US, has supported education. During Women’s Day, a panel of women from all sections of society came together.
They addressed the president with their concerns. Importantly, it included teachers, widows, and the childless, as well as some who had been forced into prostitution or the active Afghan Opium Poppy trade. (Tolo News)
The conference also celebrated the achievements of Afghan Women. Two are seen here.
“We are proud of these ladies” said Jamileh Kharrazi. “Through their hard work and dedication, we are empowering Afghan women more every day.”
The first google search review for “Afghan Women” yields a picture of women clad in full burqa. The reality, however, is that the country has improved much in the last years. Via CNN
“I have often heard that Afghan women are not political. That peace and security is man’s work. I am here to challenge that illusion.”
–Jamila Afghani, speaking to the UN in 2001 (UN)
Jamila has done what no one could have expected. As a alter-abled woman, she had many barriers to her success. She started her work with bringing food to refugees.
From there, the rest was, as they say, history. She has worked to empower women, starting the Noor Education Center. This NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) works with women and Afghan youth in many different ways. (NECDO)
They have educational programs. These are designed to build literacy. From there, women can how to become “scholars and leaders.” From there, they can become more successful in life and also address social injustice. In 2011, they received the “International Peace Maker in Action Award.”
Crucially, she works from within Islam. Often, she can be found educating religious leaders on women’s education. Rather than state it as a western value, she presents it as part of Islam. Vitally, she teaches that repressing women comes from a bad interpretation of the Koran.
Jamila is noted for her work. She stays true to her Afghan faith and culture but is still dedicated to women. Via Medium
“I left my job as a judge because I wanted to work with women directly.”
Like Jamila, Mahfuza started her journey with a deep desire to help her fellow women. While the Taliban was in power, she taught women how to how computers, as well as how to read and write.
The Taliban suspected her. She was close to being caught, but escaped out a back door of the hospital compound she taught within. She had to destroy her computers. (Alliance for International Women’s Rights)
Some of the women she taught went on to become judges, lawyers, and human rights workers.
“Her story shows the deep need of our mission at American University of Afghanistan” said Jamil Kharrazi, a donor to that school.
After the US invaded, Mahfouza went on to become a judge. She also worked as a lawyer, representing people in deep trouble. She helped people accused of murder, theft and trafficking. This underscored her deep dedication to rights for all. (Bridges to Justice)
Since then, she left being a judge to found the Justice for All Organization. (JFAO)
This organization provides legal counsel and advocacy for Afghan rights.
As we have seen, women empowering women is a strong force for change in this area of the world.
JFAO helps people who need legal aid but who cannot afford it. Via JFAO