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Join us for an Issue Briefing!

The Courage to Persist: Standing Firm in Support of Women’s Opportunities Globally

Global Washington and Sahar Education for Afghan Girls are hosting a round table discussion featuring Sahar Fellow, Malahat Mazaher and Sahar Board Member, Kelsey Noonan. We will discuss the changing U.S. political climate and the emerging impact on women’s development programs worldwide. We will use Sahar’s experience in the field to examine how the shift in the U.S. political climate has affected international work and how the position of the United States will continue to affect global development. Join us!

Who:
Open to all

Where:
Global Washington
Westlake Tower
1601 Fifth Ave, Suite 1900
Seattle, WA 98101

When:
Thursday, March 23
12:00 noon – 1:00pm
(boxed lunch will be provided)

Price:
GlobalWA Members: $10
Non-Members: $20

Register NOW!

Malahat began working with Sahar as a fellow in November 2016. She is from Afghanistan and came to the United States for her studies through a youth exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. She graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, with a double major in International Affairs and Economics. As a college student, she interned in various private and nonprofit organizations in Afghanistan, the United States and Switzerland, focusing on Communications & Marketing, Women’s Empowerment and a Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Kelsey works for Camber Collective, a management consulting firm that helps organizations navigate complex change and achieve high performance against both financial and mission-related goals. She has worked with a client base that includes donor governments, multilateral organizations, and NGOs. Previously, Kelsey has worked in Sudan, Jordan, Syria, and Afghanistan to evaluate the impact of development projects, build coalitions around the implementation of regional strategies, and address barriers to service provision in developing country government institutions. Kelsey is an avid rock climber and alpinist. While in Afghanistan, she started an indoor girls climbing program.

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How Can I Celebrate International Women’s Day 2017?

International Women’s Day 2017 is just around the corner! On march 8th, we will celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day will also mark a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Here at Sahar, we urge you to participate in a variety of ways on this important day:

1. Reach out in your community and celebrate some of the incredible women that make up the fabric of your life. Whether it’s your aunt, neighbor, or co-worker, celebrate their achievements and acknowledge the challenges they’ve faced to get where they are today. This can be an in-person conversation, a note, or an email! The important part is to strengthen the bonds in your own community.

2. Research events and organizations in your area by going to https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Events! Bring a buddy and make it a way to engage in your community.

3. Think big picture. Here at Sahar we help more Afghan girls get in school and stay in school. If this mission resonates with you, learn more about our programs here. We rely on donations from people like YOU to continue doing important work, please click here if you’re interested in supporting. If a donation isn’t the right fit for you at this time, please join our mailing list to hear about other ways you can be engaged: click here.

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Why Do We Need an International Women’s Day?

What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

When is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is March 8th of every year!

What is the theme for International Women’s Day 2017?
The theme of International Women’s Day 2017 is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. In 2015, world leaders at the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. They placed gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Why is International Women’s Day important?
While many strides have been made worldwide in the advancement of women, there more to do. There is still a significant wage gap, a lack of access to basic healthcare for women, policies that do not count the overwhelming majority of women in the informal economy, lack of protection for women from violence in the work place, etc. International Women’s Day is a reminder that significant work still needs to be done to dismantle the historic unequal rights of women.

What does International Women’s Day mean for Afghan women and Sahar’s girls?
IWD is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the challenges that Afghan women and Sahar’s girls have overcome to get to where we are today. It’s understanding that many courageous steps have been made by women on a day-to-day basis that have created change. International Women’s Day is also a reminder that we need to keep providing Afghan women and Sahar’s girls with empowerment opportunities and to be the change agents they want to see.

When did International Women’s Day start?
It’s difficult to say exactly when IWD (as it’s known) began. Its roots can be traced to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay, and shorter working hours.

A year later, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on 28 February in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.

In 1910, a woman called Clara Zetkin – leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany – tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She suggested that every country should celebrate women on one day every year to push for their demands.

A conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreed to her suggestion and IWD was formed. In 1911, it was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19.

In 1913, it was decided to transfer IWD to March 8, and it has been celebrated on that day ever since. The day was only recognized by the United Nations in 1975, but ever since it has created a theme each year for the celebration.
Link to article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/international-womens-day-2016-everything-you-need-to-know-about/

Can men celebrate International Women’s Day?
Of course! Men are welcome to and in fact encouraged to celebrate IWD. A world where not everybody is valued equally is a world where everybody loses. Bridging the gap of equality between men and women is work that must include men too.

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Sahar vetted as the Top Ranked Organization in 2016 by GlobalGiving. 

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2016 Fundraising Success!

Thanks to our fantastic donors, we have successfully reached our fundraising goals for 2016!

This year, we raised $45,600 for our computer center, $5,760 for teacher transportation, $63,528 for our teacher training center, and $45,600 for our early marriage prevention program. Each of these centers and programs will touch thousands and thousands of young Afghan girls. We have provided more girls in rural northern Afghanistan with the opportunity to learn.

Education may seem like a simple action in a nation ravaged by war for the last several decades, but we have seen tremendous change in the status of girls and women. Providing quality education experiences is about more than just getting more girls into the classroom, it is about empowering them to be free, creative thinkers who can engage in the public discussion of their country’s culture and politics and be respected and heard. We are a long ways off from achieving our goals of gender parity in the Afghanistan education system, but we continue to see tremendous growth in our capability to make this a reality.

We are excited and invigorated for what’s to come in 2017! We hope you’ll join us in continuing the gift of education.

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Afghan Boarding School Design with UW Students

by Malahat Mazaher

Designing a boarding school for Afghanistan is as complex to the University of Washington students of architecture as the concept of having one is for Afghans. This quarter these aspiring architects are taught by our own Board member, Dave Miller, and their project is to design a boarding school in Afghanistan.

Rebecca Thompson, a native of Seattle, like many of her classmates, chose this studio because of its focus on a project design overseas. Her design projects have always been in the Pacific Northwest. She is especially excited about this design because she gets to work on a boarding school so far away. She says this project is challenging compared to the designs she has worked on so far.

Jeremy Smith, one of the other students in the class told me about the different types of research each one of them did before starting the design. Students have had to research culture, security, advocating for funds, typology, local materials and environmental conditions. Being mindful of these aspects of the design is a challenging task, and unlike many other designs done by other students at their level of studies.

Rebecca and her classmates find designing the boarding school challenging because it goes beyond the conventional process of structure design, such as having to actively think of security, and cultural sensitivities to certain structures like the dorms, bathrooms and dining halls. When I asked Rebecca why she took this studio course, she said that “the main factor was designing a passive design that reflected the context environmentally and culturally, instead of a glass and steel structure, which does not make sense in Afghanistan as it would here in Seattle..” Passive design means using as much of the sun, natural ventilation, day lighting, cooling and heating, instead of relying on electrical and mechanical systems as well as using traditional materials and building methods. These aspects have inspired her to come up with a design of arches and vaults that create opportunities for outdoor courtyards and indoor sunspaces.

Rebecca likes being part of this studio course because of its focus on integrating architecture and social issues like education for girls in Afghanistan. She adds,“I think a lot of times architects want to make a difference in the world through their designs and sometimes it does not happen. It is exciting to impact girls’ education by designing a school.” Rebecca focuses on capturing the emotional comfort in this space through her design. She further adds that it is a life-changing opportunity for girls to attend the boarding school but also a challenging one, leaving their family while still feeling safe in an unknown space is difficult and it is important that they find not just physical comfort but also emotional comfort.

Khwaja Atif, an International student at the UW architectural studio from Pakistan, is impressed with the idea of a boarding school for high school students. This concept is new to him, as Pakistan does not have girls’ boarding schools. Additionally, Atif ‘s design is focusing on how to engage local community with the school. He suggested that the library of the school should be open to public so that an open and intellectual environment is encouraged. This idea makes the school not just a structure for the rest of the town rather a reminder of the impact knowledge can have.

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Sahar’s New Fellow

Sahar has a new fellow! Malahat began working with Sahar as a fellow in November 2016. Before that she served as an intern at Sahar. She is from Afghanistan and came to the United States for her studies. She graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, with a double major in International Affairs (IA) and Economics. In IA, she concentrated on Global Conflict and Cooperation and in Economics she has a special interest in economic development.

To read more about Malahat, visit the US Program Leadership tab.

 

 

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Fall Event Success

With contributions from our generous guests and board members, we raised $103,000 at our 4th Annual Fundraising Event. This money will fully fund our pilot coding project for Afghan girls next year.

Thank you to Grace Rivera for our event photos, Coe Elementary for their dedication to our organization, our sponsors (listed below) and our speakers, Edreece Arghandiwal, Airokhsh Faiz Qaisary and Dr. Shinkai Hakimi.

To view the complete album, visit our Facebook page.

 

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#GivingTuesday November 29th, 2016

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. This year it falls on November 29. If you donate on Tuesday November 29, your gift will be doubled by the match up to $1,000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

To make a donation head over to our Global Giving site. Matching begins at 00:00:01 a.m. EST. 

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Sahar Receives New Grant for Early Marriage Prevention

Sahar is pleased to announce it has received a $25,000 grant from the International Foundation. These funds will support the Early Marriage Prevention program.

Early marriage in Afghanistan remains a common custom. Our program aims to keep girls in school until graduation from high school.

We work with girls in 5th-12th grades to improve these odds with seminars on self-esteem, human and legal rights, professional female mentorship and job training. We include fathers, brothers and community members in our initiative.