Marking the 2 Year Anniversary of the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan

This week we have a guest blog from our partner Rahela Trust: a UK-based, Afghan-led charity striving to create positive and progressive change in Afghanistan, through university scholarships and mentoring talented Afghan women. 

I'm not saying that no one can defeat Afghan women; many can, but they can't stop us from rising. I get stronger and firmer each time I rise. I will rise again.

(Anon, Afghan Scholar)

As we mark the two-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, it is vital to heed the voices of Afghan women who live in a political context that systematically excludes them and denies their rights. 

Our constant communication with our scholars reaffirms their unwavering commitment to pursuing education, professional development one way or other, and fighting for their rights. International demonstrations of solidarity and our in-country initiatives, such as the scholarship and mentoring programs, are crucial in keeping hope alive. “Even in the worst conditions, we remain resilient. We don’t lose hope in the face of adversity; we never give up on our efforts.”

In collaboration with The Circle NGO, our Diaspora Changemakers Project aims to provide online mentoring and support from members of the UK’s Afghan diaspora. Understanding the topics that are most significant to our scholars is a priority, and following a recent survey, their feedback shows that developing professional skills, such as CV writing and interview practice, are a key priority. They continue to work towards building a better future for themselves and their communities. 

As an international network of feminists, we urge you to contemplate solutions that empower our Afghan sisters to use their skills and knowledge to secure a dignified livelihood for themselves and their families. The situation in Afghanistan remains dire, as women have been ordered to stay at home since September 20th, 2021. “Women are not meant only for washing dishes, sweeping floors, or becoming mothers. Women can walk alongside men in any path they choose”, as expressed by one of our scholars. 

The two-year anniversary serves as a wake-up call for all of us. It should not be a mere moment to post on social media and forget about the issue until the next anniversary; it demands action. We must actively listen to the voices of Afghan women, understand their needs, and offer unwavering support. One way to do this is to sign the petition demanding a Global Summit on Afghan women and girls. Or to donate your time by volunteering with Rahela Trust.

By Rahela Sidiqi, Founding Director of Rahela Trust