Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti following the August 14 earthquake, and to the people of Afghanistan whose country is in crisis. We have reached out to our grantees in both countries to find out how they are being affected and what members can do to help, and we have put together a summary of what we have learned. Pleases follow our social media for regular updates about our grantees and the situations in Haiti and Afghanistan.
Past Together Women Rise grantees in Haiti include Care 2 Communities, Haiti Projects, Mama Baby Haiti, and Midwives for Haiti. (Links are to the organization’s Facebook page which typically has the most current info.) Most of these organizations are in the north of Haiti, in the Cap Hatien area. Haiti Projects is in the southern peninsula which got hit by the earthquake, but they are not at the epicenter. According to Haiti Projects’ Facebook page, all their staff are safe and they do not appear to have any damage to their buildings.
As usual, our amazing grantees are stepping up to help those in need. Care 2 Communities urges people to support LOCAL Haiti-based organizations that are working in direct response to help communities and areas affected by the earthquake (and who are procuring needed supplies locally, which helps local businesses). They (C2C) are mobilizing to distribute emergency relief including medicines and medical supplies, hygiene kits, water purification kits, and PPE. Midwives for Haiti state in an Earthquake Newsletter that their staff and facilities were not directly affected, but they responding to those in need. Same thing with Mama Baby Haiti, which is bringing much-needed medical supplies and food to the affected area, and whose midwives are on the ground helping where they can. Here is a recent post from them:
“In the early hours of this morning the MamaBaby Haiti midwives were called to attend the homebirth of this sweet baby girl in the earthquake zone.The hospitals are damaged and overwhelmed. Currently many women are giving birth unassisted and outdoors due to the complicated situation in the south of Haiti. Midwives are essential in this time of great uncertainty”.
On Aug 19, Mama Baby Haiti also reported that in some communities in the South, eight out of 10 homes are gone, and gang activity has increased on the road into the South. “We hear more aid is on the way. We don’t exactly where. We hope to know soon. We will see.”
Here are links to donate to these local, vetted organizations:
Afghan women and girls need our support now more than ever! The best thing that people can do right now is to continue to donate to our Afghan grantees and other organizations working in Afghanistan for women and girls. Together Women Rise stands with Afghan women and girls, and we are committed to continuing our support of Afghan organizations.
Razia’s Ray of Hope has a touching video on their Facebook page stating their commitment to continue moving forward and supporting their girls … no matter what tomorrow may bring. Back in June, they had announced that they were prepared for the Taliban’s return and were breaking ground for a new school! In a message to our Director of Grants & Partnerships, Dr. Veena Khandke, they said that their staff, girls, families, and the schools are all safe right now. The girls were planning to go back to school! “Although we have been taking it one day at a time, we are moving ahead with hopeful hearts and minds, making thoughtful and calculated decisions.” They have set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds. (see below for link).
Women for Afghan Women (WAW) has been working for weeks now to provide safe shelter, resources, and aid to help the women, children, families, and staff under their care. WAW shared the following message to response to our inquiry about their status:
“The past days have been dark and frightening and we have much to overcome. But receiving your message and witnessing the outpouring of support from all over the world keeps us going. We are not giving up. Thank you for reminding us that the Afghan people are not alone during this time.”
Their most recent Facebook post states:
“Friends, it has been ten days since the fall of Afghanistan. Everyone at WAW has been working day and night, nonstop, for over a week. We are still trying to get our people to safety, exploring every single alternative available to us. Despite the volatile situation, we will not stop until all options are exhausted.
At the same time, we are welcoming Afghan refugees arriving into the United States. We are working with several partners in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and other states to ensure that these refugees receive culturally competent services and are provided with the support they need, not only to rebuild their lives but also to thrive in their new homes.
It has been a harrowing week for all of us—WAW, you, and humanity—but we must persist. We must not give up. WAW will keep doing everything we can to protect the lives of the women and men who risked everything for Afghan women’s rights. Two decades of progress live in them.”
WAW has set up an emergency fundraiser (see link below), and is also providing other resources to help Afghan refugees.
Sahar Education released a statement on Aug 11th (before the fall of Kabul) saying that, for security reasons, they would pause program operations and the construction of their boarding school until Sept 12, 2021; they are hoping to resume operations in the fall. They are taking every measure to protect and support their staff and their families as well as the women and girls they have served, including taking down all their social media accounts.
Bond Street Theatre had also foreseen the security threat and requested our approval, as part of our Sustained Grantee to them, to withdraw from Afghanistan. They report that they are inundated with pleas for help, and they are bonding together to offer SIV support, P2 visa referrals, etc. All donations (see link below) in August and September will be used only for aid to their Afghan project colleagues and their families.
You can donate to these organizations here:
Voices of Afghan Women Film Collection
This selection of films sheds light on the history of this region and, in particular, relates the voices and lived experiences of Afghan women. In the midst of the political tumult and our fear for women’s lives and rights, it’s important for all of us to know more about the country and the lives of Afghan women — to see their struggles as well as their incredible triumphs over the last 20 years. From the story of the first woman member of parliament to the first women video journalists in the country, from the story of a woman fighting against sexual abuse and winning in the courts to the triumph of Sonita over child marriage, Afghan woman have accomplished so much in a generation.
These films are available to watch at NO COST until August 31, 2021. Sign up HERE to watch.