Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
|Q: How did the Afghanistan Women Council (AWC) get started?
A: Fatana Gailani and her husband, Ishaq Gailani, fled to Peshawar, Pakistan, to escape oppression and death threats by the Taliban. Mrs. Gailani founded the Afghanistan Women Council in 1986 and started its activities in 1993 to restore women's and children's basic rights to education, employment, and social and political privileges.
The Council managed to establish a humanitarian relief effort, a clinic and a school for Afghan refugees inside Pakistan. The Council seeks to secure the dignity and freedom of Afghan women in accordance with Afghan culture and Islamic Sharia while remaining committed to peaceful solutions to Afghan problems.
Q: How will the funds get to the Afghanistan Women Council?
A: AWC is a registered U.S. charity through its parent organization, SEE. SEE stands for Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs and is located in Malibu, California. SEE transfers all funds to AWC's bank account less a 6.5% fee to cover expenses for fund management, wire transfer, and fiscal responsibilities.
A small additional percentage may be deducted for credit card receipt fees. Fiscal reports and narratives accompany all transfers of funds. SEE manages several other projects separately. You can learn more about SEE at http://www.saveourplanet.org/.
Q: What is the political history and future of Afghanistan?
A: Substantial risk to Afghan stability remains. Afghanistan became unstable in the 1970s as both its Communist Party and its Islamic movement became bitter opponents, shattering the relative peace and progress that characterized the reign of King Mohammad Zahir Shar who ruled from 1933-1973.
While undergoing medical treatment in Italy, Zahir Shah was overthrown by Mohammad Daoud, his cousin, a military leader who established a strong state-controlled dictatorship. The communists overthrew Daoud in 1978 and attempted to impose radical socialist change on a traditional society.
Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan on December 28, 1979 to prevent Islamic-oriented militias that later became known as "mujahedin", from seizing power, in an effort to keep Afghanistan pro-Soviet. The U.S. backed mujahedin fought them effectively and domestic opinion shifted against the war, fueled by mounting Soviet losses.
By February 15, 1989, The Soviet Union had withdrawn completely under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev. Without Soviet support, Afghan President Najivullah stepped down which set off a wave of regime defections, primarily by Uzbek and Tajik ethnic militias. He was eventually hanged along with his brother by Taliban fighters. Among the defectors was prominent mujahedin commander Ahmad Shah Masud, nicknamed "Lion of the Panjshir," who established a mujahedin regime on April 18, 1992 with Rabbani becoming President in June 1992.
The regime faced daily shelling from another mujahedin commander, Pakistan-backed Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, a radical Islamic fundamentalist later ousted by the Taliban. Four years of civil war among the ujahedin ensued (1992-1996), creating popular support for the Taliban. The Taliban was formed by Afghan Islamic clerics and students in 1993-1994. The Taliban established a Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice to enforce its strict adherence to Islamic customs using harsh punishments and executions. The Taliban banned women from working outside the home (except in health care), closed schools for girls and seriously curbed their freedom. T.V., dancing and popular music were also banned. Men were required to wear beards.
The opposition, sometimes called the "Northern Alliance", found common cause with ousted President Rabbani and Masud. Masud was eventually assasinated by suicide bombers at his headquarters. The subsequent U.S. war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda removed the Taliban from power and we come to the present situation with the promise of a new beginning under President Hamid Karzai.
The Problem and the Solution
Afghanistan has been involved in a constant struggle for survival against foreign invaders, internal oppressors, and natural elements. Decades of war together with cultural constraints, have proved to be impediments to education and development. As a result, many Afghans remain illiterate.
Women, for the most part, have been totally dependent on the men in their families. The traditional family structure has been disrupted with thousands of women losing their husbands and male family members. Women were forced to assume the role of family breadwinner which has been
difficult in a society that offers limited job opportunities.
Debra Denker writes in her book, Sisters on the Bridge of Fire, about Afghan boys orphaned by war and raised in an environment without feminine love to help us understand the dark seeds of our present pain.
It is the feminine spirit that lives within women that must pour forth freely to heal the new Afghanistan. Tremendous financial aid is necessary to rebuild the infrastructure, stabilize the government and place Afghanistan firmly on the path toward peace. Immediate intervention is needed to aid basic human needs and long term programs must address the ultimate goal of a vigorous, productive society. By supporting the vision of the AWC, you are taking responsibility for fixing the problem. We have already witnessed what happens when we choose to ignore it.
Who We Are
Fatana Gailani, Founder, Afghanistan Women Council
Ms. Fatana Said Gailani, who comes from an influential family of Kabul, has become one of the most prominent advocates of Afghan women's rights. After she sought refuge in Pakistan in late 1978 due to her opposition to the Communist regime of Noor Mohammad Tarraki, she began her humanitarian work in 1980 by providing medical assistance for Afghan refugees. Mrs. Gailani founded the Afghanistan Women Council (AWC) in 1986 and started its activities for human rights, women's rights, children's rights and peace building in 1993. The main objective of the organization is to enlighten women, improve their living conditions, and strengthen their socio-economic status in society by their multi-lateral involvement in developmental activities.
What We Do
AWC runs the Ariana School, the Mother and Child Health Clinic in Peshawar, which provides education and medical care to refugee families, and the Nazo AnaClinic, a 20-bed hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, that kept its doors open throughout all five years of the Taliban regime. AWC also manages humanitarian relief efforts for newly-arrived refugees and publishes the monthly journal, Zan-e-Afghan (Aghan Women) to mobilize women to bring peace and stability to the country. AWC creates and administers innovative projects such as trade training, literacy, health kit disbursement, and TBA training. AWC also strives to provide a voice for women through political representation in the new government.
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