Dear Friends of Sahar,
Our world has suffered immeasurably this past year. Just as the holidays arrive, many families remain separated from one another because of COVID-19. And yet, at the same time, we’ve all learned how to cope with this new normal, defined by uncertainties, zoom sessions, WhatsApp groups, masks, and social distancing. For Sahar, the impacts of COVID-19, the Afghan-Taliban negotiations, and the U.S. troop drawdown have amplified our resilience. Of course, resiliency has been part of Sahar’s story since the beginning.
It is under these conditions that Sahar celebrates its 20th year of providing education to Afghan girls. Among our many accomplishments, we have delivered innovative gender equity programs to over 250,000 girls and their families, built or repaired 18 public schools, and educated 850 female teachers. Recently, we expanded our work to include engaging men and boys as gender allies. Our programs and schools create safe spaces for girls to study, play, and learn skills for the future, while also fostering peace among families and reducing the dire conditions of poverty.
For 20 years, we have witnessed the hardships and trauma that endure within families and their communities after decades of war. Throughout it all, we find light and reasons to continue fighting—for gender equity, peace in Afghanistan, and a world where all girls can go to school.
Sahar looks forward to shaping the lives of another 250,000 girls over the next 20 years. We will continue to build schools, provide educational opportunities to Afghan communities, and champion girls’ rights. Your conviction to promote a better world where all girls can study and reach for their dreams sustains our work in Afghanistan. Thank you.
Happy Holidays from our family to yours. May the coming year be filled with light and hope of better things to come for our families, Afghanistan, and the world at large.
Ginna Brelsford Catherine Gelband
Executive Director Board President