Afghan Women's Survival Fund: Letters to the Editor

We have seen news stories about the upcoming military offensive in Kandahar, about the Taliban’s continuing hold on power and about funding for the US war in Afghanistan.  

But where are the stories of Afghan women? Of the challenges they continue to face, of the injustices woven into the fabric of the political system and of their strength in building solutions?

Luckily, we hear these stories from our partners in Afghanistan, and we need your help to get them out.

You can support Afghan women by sending a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. We have crafted the letters below, each telling the story of a different woman while advancing the same message of support for Afghan women’s rights.

All you have to do is click on the letter below and follow the instructions. Feel free to edit the letters and make them your own. Just be sure to let people know you are a MADRE member so that we can grow the circle of support for women in Afghanistan.  

Wahida's Story

Wahida was only 13 when her family sold her into marriage to a man more than three times her age. 

For nearly 20 years, she suffered terrible physical abuse. Then, when her husband accused her of infidelity, she was thrown in prison by a court system that sees women as less than full human beings.  Wahida’s three young sons and her daughter went with her.  She was only granted a pardon after four years.

After her release from prison, she found relief in a women’s shelter supported in part by MADRE’s Afghan Women’s Survival Fund.

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Bebe's Story

Bebe was only 12 when her family forced her to marry a member of the Taliban.  The abuse started immediately.  She was regularly beaten and forced to sleep with the animals.

Finally, when she was 17, Bebe tried to escape, but her neighbors reported her to the police.  She was forcibly returned to her husband.

Days later, Bebe’s husband cut off her nose and both of her ears.  This was her punishment for running away.

She barely survived the attack.  But after receiving treatment, she found a safe haven at a women’s shelter supported in part by MADRE’s Afghan Women’s Survival Fund.

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Shabana's Story

In the fall of 2008, Shabana was walking home from school when she was kidnapped by a man from her neighborhood. She was forced to marry him and subjected to his beatings for the next seven months. One night, he choked her until she blacked out.  She was almost killed. The next day, she fled.

She appeared at the doorstep of a shelter supported in part by MADRE’s Afghan Women’s Survival Fund. She had nothing: no job, no money and no family support.  But now she is demanding a divorce and taking accelerated classes to finish high school.

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Shukria's Story

When Shukria was 13, her family forced her to leave school and marry an older cousin who drank and gambled. He began abusing her immediately, often beating her with metal rods. For years, Shukria tried to flee, but each time, she was forced by her family and the police to return.

Finally, she managed to escape for good. She found a women’s shelter supported in part by MADRE’s Afghan Women’s Survival Fund.

The shelter is housing Shukria and her two children, giving her the first peace she has had in years and providing legal aid as she applies for a divorce.

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Zarbobo's Story

For over fifteen years, Zarbobo had suffered beatings and abuse from her husband.  She had four children.  He killed two of them.  One he threw into a fire pit.  The other he left to die from an illness, refusing to take him to the doctor.

She made her escape one day when her husband was not at home.  She was barefoot and had practically no clothing, but she knew she had to get away. 

She went to the police, who referred her to a shelter supported in part by MADRE’s Afghan Women’s Survival Fund.  Several days after her arrival, she confessed that this was the first time in her life that she had enough to eat.

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