Despite Danger to Foreign Aid Workers, Women to the World President Travels to Kabul to Insure Women's Programs Continue

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Women to the World Founder and President Doris Aldrich reports from Kabul, Afghanistan in the aftermath of the suicide bomber attack. "Afghan women steadfastly cling to hope that the Taliban attempts to influence and disrupt the election are unsuccessful. Women to the World refuses to abandon these women and is adapting it's programs to continue delivering educational and vocational training to the disenfranchised women of Afghanistan." Women to the World a faith-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting poverty, dependency and abuse in developing nations.

Widows begging in the middle of a busy street

Afghan women steadfastly cling to hope that the Taliban attempts to influence and disrupt the election are unsuccessful. Women to the World refuses to abandon these women and is adapting it's programs to continue delivering educational and vocational training to the disenfranchised women of Afghanistan.

Women to the World Founder and President Doris Aldrich reports from Kabul, Afghanistan in the aftermath of the suicide bomber attack. "Afghan women steadfastly cling to hope that the Taliban attempts to influence and disrupt the election are unsuccessful. Women to the World refuses to abandon these women and is adapting it's programs to continue delivering educational and vocational training to the disenfranchised women of Afghanistan."

Women to the World is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting poverty, dependency and abuse in developing nations.

Quoting Mrs. Aldrich: "Afghan Police presence is stronger and more visible than in years past. The nerve-shattering suicide bomber attack on the Italian Military this week has clarified the presence of mortal danger, yet, we ventured out today in Kabul's "Old Town" to see hundreds of thousands of Afghans of all ethnic groups buying and selling in preparation for Eid ul-Fitr, the feast marking the end of the fasting season of Ramadan. In the midst of the crowds and in the noon-day heat, we saw women in Burkas with children by the hand being pushed out of lines and publicly insulted, their dusty faces downcast. To illustrate the mood, a woman came to teach the sewing class today, and told of her many tears due to prolonged loneliness and abuse. We are comforted by the knowledge that with the responsible use of Hakira's talent, she will be able to face a more positive tomorrow."

"We do observe progress concerning freedom for women of Kabul, as hope remains alive in their hearts. Still, more burka-clad women are seen in the streets, but this is apparently tied primarily to terrorist threats in hopes of disrupting the electoral process. Heavily armed personnel carriers, tanks, and military guards are seen on patrol even in residential neighborhoods of Kabul. Hospitals are reporting large numbers of women and men suffering dismemberment of ears and hands as a result of Taliban promises. Their only crime was casting their vote in of remote districts where the Taliban are entrenched."

Mrs. Aldrich formed the following opinions after interviewing acquaintances, friends, employees, and students of Women to the World's newest training center, and of course, through personal observation: "In spite of the social and political tensions within Afghanistan, women remain steadfast in their determination to gain an education and seek skill training. As the fear and threat against them increases, they seem even more resolved to emerge victoriously."

"Tightened security is restricting travel throughout the city in the fragile political climate following the Presidential election. The populace is fraught with uncertainty awaiting resolution of the election issues."

"Foreigners are traveling about cautiously, and few venture about the capitol city in plain view. Sources report that many aid workers are staying close to their compounds, keeping close tabs on all their co-workers. Many International workers have left the country for a few weeks, while some charitable service workers are shifting their focus from the outlying border regions into Kabul, sensing that the fighting seems to be closing in for final clean-up military missions."

Women to the World has operated Women's Educational and Vocational Training Centers in Afghanistan since 2002, and recently moved from the safety of tightly secured neighborhoods to more exposed and poorer districts. This strategy is to gradually expand into the areas most in need of women's services. Women have been coming to this new compound in large numbers for tailoring classes and instruction in basic literacy and language. The prevailing culture in this particular district mandates that women be accompanied by a relative while outside the home, where women are granted little or no authority. Learning disabilities are rampant among the women, likely the direct result of depression brought on by years of domestic strife, including emotional abuse and violence in extreme cases. Additionally, there is the relentless stress brought on by the nightmare of living in a war-zone.

Mrs. Aldrich states: "Though our commitment to the women of Afghanistan is unwavering, we face a mighty struggle to handle the overwhelming numbers of adult women in need of literacy and vocational skills training. Many foreign organizations remain dedicated to responding to their cries for help. Orphaned children are the often the tragic consequence of many distraught mothers committing suicide after finding themselves without a place to turn for comfort or refuge. We continue to search for compassionate Afghan leadership able to council and offer practical emotional solutions to the plight of women. Widows have impossibly hard lives here, and often resort to sitting in the middle of traffic, right in the middle of the street, hoping a compassionate soul will throw a coin or two out of the car window as they drive by. There is no government aid available to them."

Mrs. Hilda Fletcher accompanied Mrs. Aldrich to Kabul, and is a key Women to the World volunteer, advisor, and friend.

NOTE: The U.S. dollar remains strong in Afghanistan: Exchange rate today is 49 Afghani to 1.00 USD. Business and commercial growth is evident everywhere in Kabul. The newly completed International Airport has enjoyed increased business traffic, and has simplified many aspects of the need for business development in Afghanistan.

Please visit Women to the World Widows and Orphans Support Sites: Coffee for Caring and Jewelry for Jobs

See Women to the World's Afghanistan Development Video on YouTube

The PALS - Partnering Ambassadors for Life and Service division of Women to the World is a domestic women's services agency founded for the purpose of bringing light and hope to the lives of suffering women and children within the United States.

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