Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) is a national non-profit organization. It is a federally registered charity with the goal of advancing education for Afghan women and their families, and educating Canadians about human rights in Afghanistan. On April 28, 2016, six Bow Valley College students attended the 13th Annual CW4WAfghan Breaking Break Fundraiser in support of women and education. Learners enjoyed a five course meal and listened to inspiring talks by Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister for Democratic Institutions, and Canadian author Sally Armstrong.
The following blog post was written by three Bow Valley College learners who attended the event.
The following reflection was written by Zuhal Akbary
My name is Zuhal Akbary. I am from Afghanistan. I am a student at Bow Valley College and focusing on learning English. I want to share with you about my background, how I got involved with Canadian Women for Afghanistan Women (CW4AW), and my experiences of volunteering with this organization. To begin with, I was born in a village called Hazara in Kabul, Afghanistan. We moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan because the society was not safe for our family anymore. My mom encouraged us to continue our study in Pakistan and about seven years later we came to Canada.
I found out about CW4AW when I was in high school. This is an organization that raises money and sends it to Afghanistan for things like libraries and schools. It also encourages young people to get involved and volunteer. At first, my friends and I were guests, and then we started to volunteer. We volunteer at fundraising events. We show people to their tables, answer questions, and show them the parts of the event like the marketplace where they can buy things from Afghanistan, such as jewelry, pillowcases, and scarves.
This organization is very good because it encourages people. I feel strongly about helping girls and women in Afghanistan and encouraging young people to get involved. Young people here have the opportunity to help because of living in a free county. The Breaking Bread Dinner started as three women hosting a potluck in their home and every year it is getting bigger. In Afghani there is an expression “Qatra Qatra Darya Mishawad” which means “Every drop of water creates a river”. Help in small ways combines to create help in large ways. People at the Breaking Bread Dinner share their experiences in Afghanistan, what kinds of things they have seen, and then they share about their lives. I have improved my English, learned how to speak with people, and I have met many very kind, interesting people. The Canadian people who come to the events are very friendly and helpful.
The following reflection was written by Fardowsa
“Minister Monsef motivated me. She has accomplished a lot at age 31. What can I do by the time I’m 31? I can work hard in school to become someone. I related to Maryam Monsef. She came from a poor family and fled her country because of war. She is showing women that coming together can make a big difference and the importance of helping each other. You don’t know or realize the impact of what you say to someone that can act as a motivation when you are down. Maryam was so authentic and humble. The evening was a great celebration of women coming together in times of happiness. I felt that there was strength in sisterhood represented that evening. Women supporting and encouraging each other towards success.”
The following reflection was written by Mimi
“The evening educated me. Afghanistan isn’t in the news as much anymore, but I was reminded that a need still exists in Afghanistan. The evening was so empowering. So many people from different cultures, ages, and professional backgrounds. I was struck by the underlying value and driving force of females and of sisterhood, of encouraging each other and lifting each other up.”
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