To celebrate this years International Women's Day, the next instalment in our Conversations with Afghanaid featured women who are challenging the status quo and paving the way for a more equal future in Afghanistan.

On Monday 8th March, we hosted a live discussion with Fereshteh Forough, Founder and Director of Code To Inspire; Marina Kielpinski LeGree, Executive Director of Ascend: Leadership Through Athletics; Saeeda Sadat, trainee Instructor at Ascend; and Fakhria Momtaz, Founder of Momtaz Yoga, discussing their unique experiences building businesses and initiatives that help women across Afghanistan thrive. 


"Technology was a tool that could empower me without thinking about geographical boundaries and facing discriminations... I could be a digital citizen of the world without facing any limitations. I think that was very empowering to me."

Fereshteh Forough, Found & Director of Code to Inspire.

Alongside their stories, we explored:

  • The crucial role visible, strong women role models play in leading and shaping a more equal Afghan society and emboldening other women.
  • How women, men and wider families can continue to work together to grow the number of women and girls taking part in education programmes and accessing new spaces;
  • The key challenges Afghan women will continue to face in 2021 amidst peace talks and the pandemic.

"Everybody, no matter where you're from or what your culture is... People love sports, and girls are told here all the time that they are weak, and they internalise that since their earliest moments. I wanted to turn that upside down and show them, or give them a way to see in themselves that they are strong physically and mentally."

Marina Legree, Executive Director of Ascend.

Meet the speakers

Computer Science Professor Fereshteh Forough is the Founder and Director of Code to Inspire, a non-profit training programme that empowers women to drive economic and social progress by teaching them how to code, find programming jobs and launch technology ventures. 

Marina Kielpinski LeGree is Executive Director of Ascend: Leadership Through Athletics, an organization working to empower young Afghan women through mountaineering based leadership training, developing a cadre of strong female role models and leaders in Afghanistan who are equipped and motivated to help their society transition to peace. 

Saeeda Sadat is a former participant of the Ascend programme and now an assistant instructor at the organisation. Saeeda is an accomplished artist, and she manages the service projects component of Ascend’s program. 

Fakhria Momtaz is the Founder of Momtaz Yoga Centre, Afghanistan's first all-female yoga studio where Fakhria provides free yoga, therapy, meditation and wellness classes for Afghan girls and women.

Watch the Recording

This event was free to attend, but if you would like to make a donation to support Afghan women, you can do so below in a few short clicks. We know this year has been difficult for many but rest assured that any amount, no matter how small or large, is hugely appreciated and will make a real difference.

Booking for this event has now closed.