One of the Afghan women published on the site, Fatima A., writes:
I am from a country that kills girls’ talents,
From a society that doesn’t want women to work outside the house
From trying to teach those people
From knowing that everyone is not and cannot be the person you want them to be.
Another Afghan woman, Shogofa, tells of a meeting with a new friend, writing: “She has taught me that I am bereaved but strong, and that I have the right to talk, to think.”
Another one of the writers, Roya, says in a poem titled “The Cemetery of my Identity”:
There is no world.
I live in the prison
under my burqa
no permission to breathe the air.
I am a woman
Roya also sums up what having a voice through the Afghan Women’s Project means when she says, ”Thanks to God that I have the writing blog now.”
Many women across the globe need a voice, opportunities, and acceptance. If they do not get them, they will not advance and neither will their society.
Two years ago, with the encouragement of the UN World Food Programme office in Washington, D.C., I started a series of interviews profiling school feeding programs in developing countries. One of the constant themes was what food and education can do for girls. When take-home rations are included with these programs, the girls all of a sudden become breadwinners for their families. They become healthier and receive an education.
If you want to support a cause that can change the world, especially for girls, then look no further than school feeding. Yet, the policies of governments around the world have not emphasized this enough.
What can someone do on International Women’s Day? Show your voice of support for those who are struggling to have their own. Write a note of encouragement at the Afghanistan Women’s Writing Project for its authors. Write something on your own website for your readers. Write to your government officials in support of programs that help girls, like school feeding.
If women in Afghanistan can risk everything to write their thoughts and feelings, then certainly others can write these letters of support. If everyone does, it might make International Women’s Day more than just a single-day event, and the start of a new era of hope and opportunity.
View a video of International Women's Day from the World Food Programme.