Afghan cuisine is as rich and varied as the history of Afghanistan. Its place as the “heart of Asia” has meant that many Asian culinary traditions are found enmeshed in Afghan culinary traditions. Some of these traditions were born in the Afghan soil and spread through the region, others assimilated from elsewhere. Imagine my surprise at finding “Sooji Halwa” featured as a popular Afghan dessert. After all, I had grown up eating this dessert, by that very same name, in South India. It was ubiquitous in India, made at every special occasion and an absolute must at every wedding feast. Halwa (or halva), I soon learned, is derived from the Arabic word “Hulw” meaning “sweet” and that the the first codified recipe for Halwa appeared in an Arabic book “Kitab al-Tabikh” (The Book of Dishes) authored by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi in 1226. Colleen Taylor Sen, a food historian writes in her book “Feasts and Fasts” that the Halwa made its way to India through Persia between the 13th – 16th century. So there it was, the Halwa, the very many manifestations of it, beloved in India was a contribution of Afghan cuisine. Details
This month, Together Women Rise features a Transformation Partnership Grant to support Equality Now’s work to achieve legal gender equality, end harmful practices, end sexual violence, and end sexual exploitation. This work is global, so while we don’t feature a specific country, we invite you to peruse our full recipe archive with recipes from all over the world, and try these light and delicious new recipes from co-curator Vinola Munyon, which are inspired by the cuisine of Lebanon.Details
In July 2023, Together Women Rise awarded a Featured Grant to Tomorrow’s Women, an organization that trains young Palestinian and Israeli women to partner as leaders to promote equality, peace, and justice for all. Since the Israel/Gaza conflict began in October, we have all been concerned and anxious for an update on our partner, Tomorrow’s Women. In late December, we were able to connect with Tomorrow’s Women staff, and here is what they would like to share with the Rise community.
On behalf of Tomorrow’s Women, they would first like to sincerely thank the entire Rise community for your outpouring of support and concern during these beyond trying and horrific times in Israel and Palestine. They would also like to thank members who have made additional donations to them and to the chapters that have invited them to their chapter meetings. The overwhelming thoughts and support have truly touched their hearts, especially after learning that one their 2023 Gaza Girls, named Asmaa, and her mother were killed on November 18 during an Israeli airstrike while going to check on their family home.
Their hearts are heavy and even in the face of unsurmountable odds, Tomorrow’s Women remains steadfast and unmoved in their continued commitment towards social justice and peace making. Their focus is on restoring resilience by offering trauma-informed healing and preparing for their upcoming Speaking Tour in March of 2024.
Though their programs in the region are on hold, and they had to pivot many aspects of their offerings and programs, the funding provided by Together Women Rise for Gaza Girls was near completion when the conflict began. We invite you to hear Gaza Girls stories at Where I Live – Medium, but please keep in mind that the Gaza they describe no longer exists.
Here are some other highlights that Tomorrow’s Women would like to share:
They launched a groundbreaking Community of Practice for Young Palestinian women peacemakers in the form of two weekend retreats in the West Bank. These retreats were successful and groundbreaking as they included trauma healing and emotional resilience training, workshops, listening circles, and bonding time. Their final retreat was scheduled for October 12, which has been put on hold given the circumstances. Their plan is to pivot to a trauma healing weekend instead at some point in the new year when it is safe to do so, working within their “do no harm” policy.
They are holding uni-national meetings with trained dialogue facilitators for 2023 campers, creating safe spaces to talk and grieve, with the goal of soon coming together as a bi-national group.
Emotional support sessions, with trained trauma therapists, are being offered free-of-charge for all alumnae and staff.
Gaza Girls Humanitarian Aid Fund is providing alumnae and their families with basic needs such as food, clean water, housing, feminine and baby products.
We thank Tarrie Burnett and Ghida Sinno from Tomorrow’s Women for sharing these remarkable accomplishments and for sharing their strength with us. Please know that our Rise community stands with you. Amal, a Gaza Girl said it best, “It’s my responsibility and my privilege to do what I can to brighten this dark world…” She closed by saying, “Will you join me?”