BENEFITING: WOMEN FOR AFGHAN WOMEN INC
My name is Aziza Lila Sultan and I am a graduate student studying politics at NYU. I am the daughter of Afghan war refugees who fled Afghanistan in 1983 to come to New York with my two older siblings.
We all saw the images of hardship on our screens as helpless refugees from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia tried to flee to various islands in Greece. We saw the image of the dead three year old Kurdish boy washed up on the shore in Turkey en route to Greece. We know that every single day refugees continue to arrive in Greece by the thousands. In fact, as you read this, there are dozens upon dozens of rubber dinghies carrying people over their capacity, making the perilous journey across the Aegean Sea. In 2015, around 436,000 refugees have come to Lesbos (also known as Lesvos), an island of only 80,000 local inhabitants. These refugees often lose all of their possessions on the journey and arrive with only the wet clothes on their backs. As winter sets in on the island, the realities of the refugees will only continue to worsen.
When my parents arrived in New York City in 1983, they faced many of the hardships of being refugees - recovering, relocating and adapting to their new home. It was because of the warmth and generosity of community members that my parents were able to push through such a difficult transition. In that same spirit of affinity towards refugees, my sister Masuda Sultan and I will be traveling to Lesbos on December 21st, during my school's winter break. Not all of us can go to directly help people we deeply care about and empathize with, but we can work together as a community to help others do it on our behalf.
If you can’t make the journey to Greece, let my sister and I help you make a difference. We are going to represent a women’s organization my sister is on the founding board of, and has worked with for almost 15 years, Women for Afghan Women (WAW) (www.womenforafghanwomen.org). Our help will be to anyone who needs it, regardless of what country they are fleeing. Since WAW is a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, your donations will be tax deductible.
We are not asking for you to sponsor my sister or I, as we will be covering 100% of our own costs including airfare, hotel, transportation and food. We are asking for online monetary contributions in order to maximize the impact that we can have on the island of Lesvos. Your donations will go directly to the needs of the refugees on the ground. What we purchase will be based entirely on their needs, which we will determine once on the ground. We are in touch with volunteers who are currently on the ground and have assessed the most basic needs -- which currently range from tents, blankets, sleeping bags, clothes and shoes to baby and adult food, drinking water and various medical and safety supplies. If any funds are leftover, we will ensure that they are donated to other groups working towards the same goal on the island.
Refugees live on the mercy of people like us, so any and all monetary donations will be greatly appreciated and will go a long way towards supporting this cause. Thank you so much!
-Aziza Lila Sultan