by Jasmine Davis
Photo by Roya in conjunction with the Afghan Women's Writing Project.
The Afghanistan literacy rate of 28% is one of the lowest in the world, though great strides are being made to change that. One project that’s helping to increase literacy rates and Afghanistan women rights is the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. Through poetry and essays, women in Afghanistan are gaining an education in creative writing while building up their self esteem and personal power. Marsha Hamilton founded the project after seeing a video of Zarmeena, a woman executed by the Taliban.
Hamilton says, “After many years as a journalist, I had come to believe that telling our own stories is as important to a certain kind of survival as food and shelter.” The Afghan Women’s Writing Project gives women the opportunity to practice writing skills while also learning new technological skills. Hamilton was even able to open up an Internet cafe for Afghani women, giving them access to computers. Their work is published on the website for people around the globe to read and leave supportive comments on.
Giving women in Afghanistan a voice is something we’re familiar with at Women’s Annex. In conjunction with the Afghan Development Project, we extend invitations to women in Afghanistan who are interested in writing. They can share their stories and thoughts while getting paid for their work. How to empower women can be simple: Give them a way to share their voice.
Projects like the Afghan Women’s Writing Project and the Afghan Development project are incredibly important for the future of Afghanistan. Giving women a way to share their writing and encouraging both traditional and technological literacy are two very important ways to help Afghanistan move into the future. To empower the women of Afghanistan, helping women in the country get an education and develop the means to share their thoughts is critical.