For women living in Afghanistan, life comes with many barriers. Yet, these women have the power to drive real change. With the support of the FCDO and the generosity of the British public, we’re working with vulnerable women like Maria (pictured) in some of the most remote areas of Afghanistan.

With our support, these women can lift their families out of poverty, command respect and break down stereotypes, and pave the way for generations of women to come.

Please make a donation today and support more women like Maria

Maria is from Ayback city, the capital of Samangan Province in Northern Afghanistan. She has recently been elected as the leader of a self-help group established by Afghanaid in her local community. Through these groups, we bring women together to teach them basic literacy and numeracy, as well as training them in a vocational skill of their choice, in enterprise development and financial management, and providing them with the tools they need to establish their own small businesses.

Men and women are both perfectly capable of doing the same jobs. Why should women receive money from their husbands, when they can find a job, work, and provide for their families themselves too? A husband and wife should support one another, rather than one be dependant on the other. They should work together and society should be more balanced. Women are strong - we are just as capable as men and should be recognised for this. With Afghanaid’s help, this is starting to happen for women in my community.

We’re supporting these groups to form savings-and-loan systems, giving poor women access to credit so that their businesses can flourish. The group structure also enables the women to learn from one another, as well as form lasting friendships and support networks.

“Thanks to Afghanaid, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women in my community are getting a chance to gain new knowledge and skills that will help them to earn an income, provide for their families and become more independent.”

When you empower a woman, you empower an entire community

Over the next few months, Maria will be taking part in one of our training courses which covers topics such as women’s and human rights, civic engagement and leadership skills.

£100 pays for one woman to complete a training course in a topic such as conflict resolution, advocacy or human and women's rights.

As the leader of the self-help group, Maria will then pass on her new skills and knowledge to the other members, who can in turn pass this on to their own families and friends, and so on.

“Afghanaid is not only helping to increase the knowledge of the women in my community - with their help, everyone, men and women, boys and girls, are realising what women can really do, and what they should have the opportunity to do, so now each of us can achieve our full potential.”

Maria will be leading the way for a group of empowered women who are recognised in their community and have the opportunity, ability and confidence to get engaged in community governance and institutions in the future.

“I am lucky, as my aunt taught me tailoring and embroidery at a young age and I have been able to use these skills to support my family. Other women have not been so lucky. Now, thanks to Afghanaid, I have the opportunity to help other women in my community and expand my own knowledge too.

It is so important to increase your knowledge. For me, it is important that my children, both the boys and the girls, are independent and can take care of themselves and their future families. Education can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Because I myself did not get an education, I had to start from zero and I did not want this for my daughters. With an education, life for them will be easier and they will struggle much less.”

A monthly gift of £3 enables a woman to complete a basic literacy and numeracy course, and provides her with the textbooks and stationery required to help her along the way.

When the women we help set up their businesses and bring money into poor households, they gain greater respect from their male family members. At the same time, we're also teaching these women about family planning and reproductive health and, once they have a greater knowledge and understanding of these topics, they can then harness their new-found respect to influence decisions over family planning and the early marriage of their daughters.

To support this, we’re also running training courses for all male family members as well as mothers-in-law of women like Maria, to teach them about women’s rights and reproductive health too, so that the women’s decisions are not met with opposition.

How you can help

A gift from you today is long-lasting, as the people we reach now will pass on their new skills and knowledge to the other members of their communities, who can in turn pass this on to their own families and friends, and so on.

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