The news from Afghanistan is devastating. All of Afghanistan is now out of the control of the government and in the hands of the Taliban, including Kabul. President Ghani has fled to Tajikistan with his advisors. Our Afghan staff is safe, but their situation remains extremely difficult due to their affiliation with Sahar and our work. We are taking every measure we can to protect and support them and their families.
It is hard not to feel grief as the Taliban returns, but we must remain in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, especially the girls and women. They remain the future of the country. We are reminded of the secret schools that mothers across Afghanistan ran during the Taliban. Perhaps we have educated the next generation of these teachers.
Over 250,000 girls attended the schools we helped to support. Every day we showed our belief in them and their futures. Even in difficult times, the power that comes from educating a girl is not erased. They will have daughters and sons who will hear their lessons and learn from their experiences.
Right now, the voices of many Afghan women are muted for security and safety. They will emerge again. Now, it is our voices that need to be heard supporting all Afghans, especially the women and girls in Afghanistan. We urge you to speak up for their protection and show your solidarity.
Websites of NGOs around the globe are being scrubbed and images and names have been taken to protect staff and girls. They cannot be visible so we must be. Post your messages in support of Afghanistan with the #IStandWithAfghanGirls and #IstandwithAfghans. Contact your representatives and demand that the U.S. expand its visa programs to allow NGO workers and supporters to apply for visas while they are trapped in Afghanistan. Cite Canada as an example of a country that is providing adequate support to Afghan refugees.
Sahar believes in the future of Afghanistan and its people and we must support them now in every way possible. We have taken down our social media accounts to protect the women and girls we have served. Please visit our website to learn how you can help. We will update our landing page with organizations and resources aiding Afghanistan. Thank you for standing with us in support of Afghanistan and girls education.