BENEFITING: WOMEN FOR AFGHAN WOMEN INC
EVENT DATE: Mar 08, 2013
Over the past ten months I have been volunteering/interning at Women for Afghan Women. My experience here has been so phenomenal that I asked my two close friends to lend their time and support. At first I was nervous but the atmosphere and humbleness the women who come here for ESL classes, citizenship, or just support made me feel at ease. One would expect as an English only speaker it would be difficult teaching ESL or communicating, but it was the easiest thing with smiles and nods, the women and I were connecting, one session at a time. I would truly describe the WAW environment as empowering as a woman and a person. On my way home I always feel as though I left a yoga session. Relaxed, accomplished, culturally enlightened, and refresh. I made a woman smile today through something that is tough on her (learning to read and write in a language alien to hers). The stories women brought with them about their children, lives back home, and about themselves was comforting because it reminds me that no matter the cultural differences, we share similar moments that always keeps us connected in some way.
The children of WAW lit up my eyes the most, I could be dealing the toughest situations in my personal life, but their laughter, small voices, and their South Asian languages mixed with English is hard not to chuckle at. It was interesting getting the two shyest girls who reminded me of myself at the age of 9 to talk about themselves and to laugh at my sarcastic remarks really makes my day. I feel good about their development as young girls, empowering them by simply be confident and feel open to talk about positive fun things going on in their lives, also empowering me, making me more patient and tolerant with children and different people.
When you volunteer somewhere you are expecting to give, but I took from this experience more than I expected thus far. Hearing one of the client’s stories about why she did not want to go back to Pakistan while I helped her prep for her citizenship interview allowed me to feel what she was feeling though I have no clue what that feels like, I had a human experience.
I truly hope my experience will encourage others to take time and put themselves out there and learn about others and how they can actually help you, you never know what will come out of an opportunity.
When approached with the opportunity for my two friends (current volunteers) and I to bring WAW back to my college (The City College of New York) to host a walk and fundraiser for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2013 I was grateful for the opportunity and was willing to do whatever it takes to create awareness and raise funds for an organization that has done so much for my personal development in a short amount of time, and to show the women of the organization that there is advocacy on their behalf. I plan to represent WAW at my school and convince my peers, advisors, and professors that supporting women’s rights will prove that change is inevitable if we all contribute our time and money.
Women for Afghan Women needs you. Your support provides:
$50-One month of empowerment programs at the NY Community Center
$100-One month's supply of food for a child at a Children's Support Center
$250-School supplies for 5 children at a Children's Support Center
$500-Human rights trainings for Afghanistan's religous/community leaders
$1,000-A six month stay for a woman in a WAW shelter or transitional house
$2,500-Medical care for a woman or child who suffered extreme injuries
$5,000-Legal services to protect the human rights of 150 women and girls