The Afghan Women’s Writing Project presents short essays, in English, by Afghan women in Afghanistan. They write about their lives, their favorite recipes, their favorite moments, their dreams, their fears, their families — anything, really. The project, a nonprofit, is aimed at allowing Afghan women to have a direct voice in the world, not filtered through male relatives or members of the media. Online volunteers in the USA help the women produce their blogs.
Many of these Afghan women have to make extreme efforts to gain computer access in order to submit their writings to the project. Many have to keep their participation secret because of disapproval from their family and neighbors — and that disapproval could turn violent if they were found out. But the women are willing to risk quite a lot to participate in this program. Giving a voice to their experience — an experience you rarely see in traditional media stories or in any commentary by government officials or international military officials — makes their voice heard, makes us all a witness to their experience. And the women feel heard. It is incredibly empowering to be heard.
I have an Afghan friend who is writing essays for this project, and I hope you will read any or all of her six short blogs. Even better, I hope you will comment on any of her blogs — or comment on any of the blogs written by any these women. Comments mean so much to these writers.
To help the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, you can volunteer online or you can donate to help pay the rent for the project’s office in Kabul (I know first hand how crazy expensive rents are in Kabul) and pay for the center’s Internet access ($300 a month!).