With the Taliban back in control of Afghanistan, the Peterborough chapter of a national organization dedicated to the education and rights of women in Afghanistan is raising awareness of the developing refugee crisis — as well as the dire threats Afghan residents, including women, face under Taliban rule.
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), a non-profit and non-religious organization founded in 1996 with more than 10 chapters across Canada which has raised funds for the education of women and girls in Afghanistan since 1996, is also seeking donations to support Afghan refugees and their families and for humanitarian aid for those remaining in Afghanistan.
Earlier in August, the federal government announced plans to bring in 20,000 Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban to Canada.
“Soon there will be Afghan refugees and their families coming to Peterborough who will need support, similar to the outstanding welcome given to Syrian refugees over the past five years,” the Peterborough chapter of CW4WAfghan states in a media release.
CW4WAfghan is encouraging Peterborough residents to help as more information becomes available through the Peterborough chapter and through New Canadians Centre Peterborough.
“Many of these refugees speak English and are educated, talented, and hard-working,” the media release states.
To help raise awareness of the plight of Afghan refugees as well as funds, members of CW4WAfghan’s Peterborough chapter along with Red Pashmina Inc. will be in downtown Peterborough on Saturday, September 4th, visiting farmers’ markets and other areas. They will be wearing red pashminas and handing out bookmarks with information about the situation and a welcome to Afghan refugees.
Red Pashmina is a grassroots campaign founded in 2009 by friends Jess Melnik and Maryam Monsef (who grew up in Afghanistan as a child and is now Peterborough-Kawartha MP and federal Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development), selling pashmina scarves with proceeds going to CW4WAfghan. Originally conceived as a one-time event, the now-annual campaign has since raised more than $150,000 to help support women in Afghanistan.
To support the work of CW4WAfghan through Red Pashmina, you can purchase red pashminas by calling 705-748-6251 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as Afghan refugees, CW4WAfghan states it is “deeply concerned” for Afghans living inside the country who are unable to leave and now face the risk of violence and femicide.
“It is important to understand that the segment of the population at risk is not small,” the media release reads. “It includes not only prominent women such as journalists, civil society activists and politicians, but ordinary people as well: any parent who sent their daughter to university, anyone who ever criticized the Taliban, religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ communities, and people who simply wish to live a lifestyle that doesn’t conform to the Taliban’s rigid norms.”
To donate to CW4WAfghan for humanitarian aid, you can send funds to the Peterborough chapter by e-transfer to email@example.com or by writing a cheque to CW4WAfghan Peterborough and mailing it to Daphne Ingram, 129 Long Lake Road, Apsley ON K0L 1A0.
VIDEO: Advocating for Afghan Women’s Rights (before the Taliban’s return)
“There will need to be accountability for this tragic, preventable outcome that has stripped an entire population of their rights and freedoms overnight, and a reckoning with the role of the United States in brokering a Taliban-led government in Kabul, as well as other stakeholders in the international community,” the media release reads.
Also seeking to raise awareness of the plight of Afghans, the Peterborough Peace Council’s regular monthly vigil on Monday (August 30) will focus partly on the women of Afghanistan. The vigil will take place outdoors at noon at Emmanuel United Church at 534 George Street North.
For more information about Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, visit cw4wafghan.ca.