Afghanaid trains local human rights defenders, enabling them to advocate for the social and economic rights of women and intervene on behalf of vulnerable women in their communities. Two of these unsung heroes are Ashaqullah and Wazhma Popal.


"I was a teacher for 15 years before becoming a human rights defender for Afghanaid last year. I enjoyed teaching but, in the last year working with Afghanaid, I have learned and gained so much more than in 15 years as a teacher. Afghanaid has given me the capacity bring positive change to my community. I have been involved in at least 40 cases of conflict resolution, and one of my biggest achievements has been helping 35 girls in my community find a job. 

I’m passionate about helping girls and women get an education. That’s why I has organised a car for girls to be picked up from their homes and be dropped off again after they had attended courses at the Afghanaid-established resource centre in my district. Afghanaid has given me the capacity to not just work in my community, but to bring about lasting change in Afghanistan."

Wazhma Popal

"Working for Afghanaid has helped me to develop myself personally and made me realise that I am someone in my own right. With this newfound power, it is great to be able to help others in turn. My work for Afghanaid is on sensitive topics, like women’s access to education and healthcare, as well as early and forced marriage, but Afghanaid’s approach, working in accordance with the local culture and context, has resulted in community acceptance of our work, enabling us to tackle these difficult and sensitive topics. To illustrate, initially my father in law would not allow me to work for an NGO, but when he found out it was Afghanaid he changed his mind, because of the good reputation Afghanaid has in the community."

From rights to results

Attitudes towards women in the communities we are working in are truly changing; we have seen a marked decrease in violence towards women and many more instances of women and girls refusing forced marriages, gaining access to healthcare, demanding education and getting jobs.

Not only have these human rights defenders assisted women and girls with domestic problems, the positive impact has rippled into other areas and the initial interventions have led to further development for individuals, families and whole communities. 

In many cases, local people have noted that the project provided the push they needed to think about and deal with practices that have never been questioned or challenged before. 

Want to help? A donation today will enable us to work with more communities, helping us to reach many more women and girls, so that they can claim their rights and build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

How you can help:

This winter we're asking for your help to ensure the basic rights of vulnerable Afghan families. Donate today to #FeedTheFuture: