Afghanistan was once a progressive independent country where women were treated equally. And this was just about 100 years ago. Sadly in a century, a lot has changed and the women have had to bear the harshest brunt. With unfair laws against them and unequal social norms, women have long suffered in the Taliban dominated government. It is only recently that some of the women from the older generation have come out in support of the younger girls who have been subjected to social ills such as child marriage and suppression.
Suraya Pakzad, a veteran women’s right activist, has been fighting to give the deprived young women another chance to live a normal and safe life. She has been running a shelter for women who were forced into early marriage. It is heartening to know that a number of such shelters are functional in Afghanistan today. However for the women running these, the journey hasn’t been easy. Suraya is constantly threatened by the Taliban and other Islamic activists who even threat to personally harm her and her family. But she remains unfazed by it all and continues in her mission to help the women in need. Suraya however has been making pleas to the leaders of the world to put pressure on the Afghan government to set up a ministry exclusively for the rights of women.
The work being done by Suraya Pakzad and others like her is exemplary. The women who were once tortured and thrown into an uncertain future now have a fresh lease of life. They live in a safe environment and even have to liberty to play basketball with their peers. This not only gives them the freedom and respect they deserve, it also helps them in building up their lost confidence.
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