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Payvand Seyedali's Fundraiser:

Save Sadat

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BENEFITING:

Payvand Seyedali

THE STORY:

I met young Sadat wrapped in one blanket, in freezing cold Kabul weather, in the back of a cab, her body burned and bandaged from head to toe.

She is 15, and has a ninth grade education. She was proud of her education, excited for life, had dreams and hopes. Three months ago, Sadat was sold in marriage by her father to a man 15 years older than her, son of a local warlord. Sadat told me that from the start, her new husband beat her, tortured her (pulled out her fingernails), and of course, her situation must have felt like rape every night. She went to the local police for help, she went to the chief prosecutor, a woman, and to another female lawyer she knew. Under pressure from her father-in-law, who came in with guns and threatened all parties.... no one helped her. She tried to run away. The cab took her straight to the police, who delivered her back to her husband.

Seeing no other way out, Sadat decided to kill herself. In the way of other local girls before her, she decided to burn herself to death. She poured kerosene from two lamps over her body, and lit herself on fire. At least in death, she would make a statement that some might hear.

Sadat did not die, though the two-month baby inside her did (she miscarried yesterday, in the hospital). Her mother found her, and they took her to the Herat Burn Center, where still, her in-laws came and threatened her. Knowing she wouldn't be safe in Herat, 20 families from the village, men and women, came together, pooled their resources to send her to Kabul.

When they reached Kabul, they called Lal Gul, a prominent Human Rights lawyer they'd heard of. I was with Lal, volunteering for the Afghanistan Human Rights Organization (AHRO) he chairs, when he got the call. We rushed to the taxi, which was parked outside the hospital. Her mother was beside herself, and Sadat could barely speak.

Lal immediately called the media, who aired her story several times over the following days (it's still airing).

Here is an English version of what happened, when we first met Sadat and accompanied her to the hospital:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKi-n4WFvPk

BBC aired it as well, talking about this desperate trend amongst many girls, featuring Sadat:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2012/02/120217_l95_af_girl_vid.shtml

We will continue taking the case to more media sources. (Any ideas or connections-- please assist.)

AHRO called government officials to take action (and many have, especially the Minister of Health), asked countless questions of the provincial authorities who did NOT heed Sadat's complaints, who sent her back to her abusive husband. He made sure her husband was arrested immediately. AHRO is taking care of the legal side, using the law to make a statement that abusing girls like this can not, must not, go unpunished. Whether we're in Seattle, WA, or Herat, Afghanistan, every human has rights. Every girl and boy, man and woman, deserves to live without fear, without abuse, with the chance to live out their dreams.

AHRO is taking care of the legal matters of this case.

Our job, yours and mine, is to save Sadat's life.

Our job is also to spread her story, to make people aware that Sadat-- and at least 86 other girls in her province this year, and many others in other areas of Afghanistan and around the world-- are so desperate they do things like BURN themselves to death, so that someone hears them.

Help save Sadat's life, and help spread her message.

We can make a difference to this one, and through her, we can send a message showing these young girls there IS support for them-- and showing those who oppress these girls that we stand against them.

Thank you for being a part of this.

Right now, your donations will go towards getting Sadat a medflight to Shriner's hospital in Boston, for visa fees, and to support she and her mother in any incidental expenses while Sadat is being treated.

Funds will be used conservatively, and I, Payvand Seyedali, will report their usage to you if you provide your email address. Any additional funds will be reserved as an emergency fund to help other girls who encounter similar situations and need similar help.

Thank you, again, for being part of this.



Updates:

* Feb 16: Hospitals all over the world contacted, hoping one will treat Sadat for free. We are hoping, especially, for a close one, i.e. India, Dubai, Turkey, but welcome any hospital's help.

* Feb 17: Shriner's Children's Hospital, in Boston, U.S.A., has agreed to treat Sadat for free. Thank you so much, Shriner's.

* Feb 17 - current: The U.S. government is being helpful, working with us as we go through the process of applying for Humanitarian Parole for Sadat (and her mother) so they can get to Shriner's Hospital, in U.S., for treatment.

* Feb 17/18: The Ministry of Health here has worked with the Turkish Embassy to fly Sadat and her mother to Turkey, where she will get better interim care, while we raise the money to get her a medflight to Shriner's. Thank you to Afghanistan's Ministry of Health, and thank you to Turkey, who is flying, housing, and hospitalizing her free of charge.

* Feb 18: We are also asking airlines to donate flight space... it is difficult because she cannot lay down.

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