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‘The situation in Afghanistan is dire, and the situation for women worsens day by day – but this does not mean that we lose our passion of fighting for women’s rights and their right to an education!’ Rahela Sidiqi (Founder & Director of Rahela Trust)
Afghan women around the world are calling on us to come together and fight alongside them. We heard the stories of the Afghan women resisting the Taliban regime.
Presented by British-Afghan journalist Ariana Abawe of Ariana Magazine, we journeyed through the political resistance and incredible beauty of Afghan culture.
Ariana was joined by a panel Afghan refugees tirelessly campaigning against the injustices waged by Taliban in their homeland.
The event featured live poetry from Afghan student and writer Hadisa Afzaly and a traditional Rubab performance by Zaiuallah Khan Yousofzai. A fashion show by Afghan fashion brand MAC Store London Ltd. And traditional Afghan food from Watani Box and desserts from Kulcha Kafe.
Tickets sales were donated to the Rahela Trust – a charity that provides university scholarships and a leadership mentoring programme for women in rural Afghanistan to equip them to build a more progressive future society.
Ariana Abawe is a British-Afghan journalist based in London. She is the founder of Ariana Magazine. The aim of the magazine is to showcase the beauty of Afghanistan in contrast to the negativity in the mass media. Therefore the magazine features the culture, history, art and people of Afghanistan from artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, authors, photographers and much more.
Ariana has since published 111 magazines within 2 years, featuring talented Afghans from around the world. Ariana has gained great recognition by non-Afghans and Afghans around the world, being featured on BBC, Voice of America and in the British Library. She also gained Outstanding Young Person of the Year by Harrow's Heroes for her great work in the community. At just 23 years old, Ariana has inspired many young Afghans, especially Afghan women to achieve their goals.
Rahela Sidiqi is the Founder of the Rahela Trust. She is the former Senior Advisor of Afghanistan’s Civil Service Commission and Senior Social Development Advisor of UN-Habitat Afghanistan.
To respond to the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 2021, Rahela founded Omid International, which provides support to women’s rights activists and young professional women within Afghanistan, as well as in other neighbouring countries. Rahela has saved the lives of hundreds of people at risk, as well as their families, guaranteeing a safe place for them and coordinating their evacuation.
Hadisa Afzaly is a poet and creative writer from Afghanistan studying at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is passionate about telling the stories of her country and culture.
Hadisa's poetry has been aired on BBC Radio Manchester and published in Ariana Magazine. She's worked with Manchester International Festival on a project called Fly With Me which is in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country.
Hadisa is passionate to write about her country, and the journey she is on now and would like to continue talking about women’s education in Afghanistan.
Marzia Barbarkhail is former judge in Afghanistan who survived a brutal hit-and-run assault and the ransacking of her home. Marzia has over eight years of legal experience, as a qualified lawyer, as Justice of the Civil and Trading Court and as a Family Court Judge in Afghanistan, specialising in violations of women’s rights.
Now based in the UK, Marzia is studying and continues to be actively involved in campaigning, lobbying, mentoring, raising awareness to promote rights and freedoms for gender equality and for greater women and youth participation in political and social affairs at local and community level. She is also involved at grassroots level with organisations concerned with housing issues, social cohesion and refugees.
Benefsha Yaqooboi and her Husband Mehdi Salami are founders of Rahyab organisation to provide education and rehabilitation for children with visual disabilities in Afghanistan and hosted a daily live TV show to raise awareness about disability rights.
Benefsha was made one of the BBC's 100 Women in 2021, she is the 2022 recipient of the Human Rights Watch Marca Bristo Fellowship for Courageous Leadership in Disability Rights.
Benefsha and Medhi continue to advocate for Afghans with disabilities to no longer be an afterthought in humanitarian response. Despite Taliban rule, the couple has not given up on their fight for the right of Afghan girls with disabilities to go to school.
Sabriah Nowroozi is a former captain of the Herat Youth Team and also played for the Afghan Women’s Youth Development Football team in Afghanistan. She started playing football at 13 in her home province of Herat and was previously studying psychology in Afghanistan. Sabriah is currently signed to Harrogate Town football team.
The Rahela Trust is a UK-based, Afghan-led charity striving to create positive and progressive change in Afghanistan. They do this by providing talented, underprivileged women with dual a university scholarship and mentoring programme, and access to global professional networks.
Rahela Trust’s mission is to provide university scholarships, mentorship and access to local and global professional networks to disadvantaged and talented Afghan women from rural areas.
By growing a community of educated young women committed to improving women’s lives in Afghanistan, Rahela Trust envisages a society where women’s rights are respected. Where women are fully involved in the social, political and economic aspects of life.
They are mobilising the expanding Afghan diaspora around the world, supporting the marginalised women of Afghanistan alongside local partners and NGOs on the ground.
Rahela Trust believes Afghan women are the key to creating a future Afghanistan that is progressive, inclusive and equitable.
By supporting the education of young, disadvantaged and academically talented women from rural Afghanistan through university scholarships, leadership development and mentoring, they are helping to establish agents of change.
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