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6th Grade Graduation Brings Turmoil to Afghan Girls

As another year comes to a close under Taliban rule in Afghanistan girls are losing hope for the future they were promised. Radio Free Europe reported on the dire situation on December 8th, 2023:

‘Hundreds of thousands of sixth-grade girls in Afghanistan attended the last day of the school year, many with tears in their eyes as they face an uncertain future because of Taliban policies that forbid them from further schooling and restrict their basic human rights.’

Imagine graduating 6th grade only to face the brutal reality of forced marriage, domestic servitude, or extreme poverty. This is the reality for those girls. Without continued education they will not be eligible for the few jobs open to women and their families will face hard decisions.

Under the current regime, the people are facing appalling conditions with little help from the defacto government or the international community leading to record dissatisfaction by the Afghan public. 

‘The Taliban’s policies are deeply unpopular among most Afghans. Even though dissent is often met with a harsh response by authorities, some people are still willing to criticize the government because the policies are seen as destructive.

In the Muslim nation of some 40 million people, activists and rights advocates accuse the Taliban of implementing “gender apartheid” by denying women education, work, freedom of movement, and deciding how they can appear in public.’

Furthermore, although girls’ education and the freedoms of women have been severely stilted there have also been damaging changes made to the education system affecting boys. 

A report titled Schools Are Failing Boys Too, from Human Rights Watch, is quoted in the article as saying 

‘curriculum changes, the firing of female teachers, corporal punishment, and other practices risk their education over the longer term as well.

Sahar Fetrat, a women’s rights researcher at HRW and the author of the report says the Taliban has caused “irreversible damage” to the education of both Afghan boys and girls.

“By harming the whole school system in the country, they risk creating a lost generation deprived of a quality education,” she said.’

With the fate of 40 million people hanging in the balance, we can only hope the international community will step up to pressure the Taliban into reversing these abhorrent policies. In the meantime, secret schools are among the few avenues open to girls who have aged out of the education system. 

Sahar offers underground programs to girls and women who are excluded from school in Afghanistan. In our programs, girls learn English, computer skills, coding, women’s health and mental health topics, tailoring, literacy, and women’s empowerment skills. 

We also offer a program for boys and young men that focuses on how men can support women in their fight for equality, how families are more functional with a partnership between the parents, how domestic violence and early marriage are wrong, and more important topics that we need the youth of Afghanistan to learn if we expect anyone ever to stand up and stop this oppressive regime. 

A graduate of the second 2023 Stealth Sisters program shares her thoughts

In October, 20 more girls graduated from the second round of our Stealth Sisters program. Even more girls are learning through our Underground TechSheroes program, also in its second round. And, the first rounds of our adapted Men as Partners in Change and Threads of Hope programs are underway as the year comes to a close.

Want to learn more about our programs? Watch our most recent round table on YouTube!

Want to support our programs? Bid on Auction items until December 15th or donate with 50% matching today through Global Giving!

You can change the life of a girl and her community, today!

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Juneau World Affairs Council Welcomes Shogofa Amini

On September 14th, 2023, Sahar Program Manager, Shogofa Amini shared her story and the story of Afghanistan with the Juneau World Affairs Council.

Shogofa spent 5 years of her childhood learning in a secret school organized and taught by her mother, a former principal. She understood from a very young age the power of education. Although there were great risks from the Taliban for learning and teaching, her parents understood those risks must be taken for the future of their children.

Imagine sending your daughters to learn English knowing they may be beaten or killed if discovered. It is a harsh reality that many Americans cannot fathom. However, it is once again the daily experience of the Afghan people.

Shogofa shared how a love and respect for education led her to the United States, completing a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree and how she came to work with Sahar. It was her dream to return to Afghanistan and help women and girls achieve their dreams, however, the resurgence of the Taliban has made that impossible at this time. That blockade has not stopped Shogofa, who has helped Sahar invest in secret education courses since August 2021.

Sahar Education continues to provide hope for Afghan girls under the repressive regime of the Taliban with the constant support of Shogofa. Her dedication to the programs is apparent as she shares the experiences of the students she personally interviews.

Watch Shogofa’s presentation at the Juneau World Affairs Council.

Do you want to help young girls with a passion for learning? Donate today to Sahar Education via GlobalGiving and our programs receive 50% more for every $1000!

You can change the life of an Afghan girl and her community by supporting Stealth Sisters and Underground TechSheroes. 

Donate today through GlobalGiving and your contribution will go 50% further with matching from the Safer World Fund through January 1st, 2024 (or until matching funds last). 

Help Sahar Education reach the goal of $10,000 through this program, sponsoring 6 girls for the 6-month Stealth Sisters course!

Join Sahar on October 25th to celebrate the resilience of Afghan women while supporting our programs!

A Night In Afghanistan will feature Afghan food, music, and traditional clothing. Join us to learn about the rich culture of Afghanistan before the Taliban and the current conditions under which brave students continue to fight for their right to education. 

Sahar has been providing educational opportunities in Afghanistan for over 20 years. Although many organizations stopped serving women once the Taliban took over, Sahar shifted to a secret school model that continues to educate women and girls against Taliban restrictions. 

Join us at Structure Cellars on October 25th to hear from Program Manager, Shogofa Amini, and Executive Director, Meetra Alokozay. Also hear from the former Afghan Youth Representative to the United Nations, Shkula Zadran, about the current situation in Afghanistan and why educating women is so vital to the recovery of the country and its people. 

Virtual registration is also available for those who would like to join us from outside Seattle.

Buy tickets today!

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July 2023 Newsletter

During the month of June, SAHAR was able to successfully continue its activities to empower and educate women in Afghanistan. Students were able to attend IT, coding, and English classes. Furthermore, they were also able to learn more about women’s empowerment through classes and various sessions. 

Millions of Afghan girls have been denied the right to education and future employment under the strict rules of the Taliban who took over Afghanistan, once again, in August of 2021.

Sadaf was one of those girls, and her entire future was shattered when she heard that she could not finish school or pursue her planned career. She thought the situation was helpless until she discovered an amazing opportunity to join a new program through Sahar Education.

Sadaf joined the first cohort of the Stealth Sisters program which partnered with a local school to provide a 3 part course to girls who were not allowed to enroll in school, due to the new rules. Sadaf learned English, IT computer skills and studied women’s empowerment.

These lessons were of great value to her development and allowed her to see herself and the world in a new light. She learned about her rights, mental health, and supporting fellow women. This program was invaluable to Sadaf.

After graduation, Sadaf’s confidence was higher than ever before and she knew she needed to use her skills to help her community and herself. She started her own home-based school which educates girls within her community. She also began teaching online Quran classes which led to her financial independence.

For women and girls all over Afghanistan, Sadaf’s story is one of immense pride and inspiration. But, the opportunities for other girls, like Sadaf, are few and far between.

With your help, Sahar Education continues to bring innovative courses to Afghan girls across the country. We currently fund and support 3 ongoing programs which help women and girls at different stages of their educational journey.

Threads of Hope helps girls and women achieve literacy while learning to sew. Underground TechSheroes allows young women to learn IT and coding skills they can turn into home-based careers. And, Stealth Sisters helps girls and young women learn English, and computer skills and embrace the power of womanhood for successful futures.

None of this can be successful without the support of our community. Every comment, like, share, and donation is immensely powerful, helping Sahar Education reach new friends and supporters. We are humbled each day by the courage and resilience of the girls in our programs and hope the opportunity to hear more about Sadaf has brought some of that magic to you.

Sahar Education invites you to a virtual info session to learn how we are fighting back against gender apartheid in Afghanistan! 

Join us, on July 10th, 2023 at 6 pm PST on Zoom! This info session is open to donors, board members, and anyone interested in Sahar’s mission! 

Women and girls are being targeted by segregating policies in Afghanistan which will push the country back even further in progress. Only 23% of Afghan women can read and write at a basic level, the Taliban wants that number at 0! Sahar is not giving up until every woman and girl in Afghanistan can read, write and pursue her own dreams.

We know it’s a long road, and we need YOUR help to get there! Please join us on July 10th to learn what programs we are devoted to in 2023 to improve the lives of Afghan women and how your support can help further our efforts. 

Hear from a Sahar program graduate about how the Stealth Sisters curriculum changed her life!

Learn about current and future programs from Program Manager, Shogofa Amini. Find out the long-term vision of Sahar from Executive Director, Meetra Alokozay.

Learn about the impact Sahar is having on hundreds of Afghan girls through programs that teach them to read, write, speak English, use computers, sew, and code! 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Register Today


Sahar is participating in July Bonus Day on July 12th! This is an exciting opportunity for Sahar to raise funds for ongoing projects with a match for all unique donations between $100 and $1,000! Please share our mission with your friends and family ahead of the July Bonus Day Campaign!

$400,000 available in Matching Funds for participating projects!

30% match on donations from $100 – $499 (while funds remain)

40% match on donations from $500 – $749 (while funds remain)

50% match on donations from $750 – $1,000 (while funds remain)

Donations up to $1,000 per unique donor per organization will be matched!

Are you taking part in a local event you think Sahar should join? Please email us about the event! [email protected]


June was a great month for the girls enrolled in our current programs. We are excited to share their progress with you. 

Stealth Sisters

In June, Sadaf, an alumna of the Stealth Sisters program, was invited as a host speaker. She shared her life-changing experience with the program and how it helped her become a more confident individual. Sadaf’s story not only inspired the current students but also those of us at Sahar. We are sharing more about her story through the next 2 weeks and will have a special event on July 12th.

One of the current students had this to say about the Stealth Sisters program, “Before this course, I felt weak when I was at home. I asked myself why we cannot go to school and study. Since this course started, especially the women’s empowerment program, the feeling of being weak has been removed from me, and my attitude has strengthened. I feel that I am strong. Now I know about my rights. Also, I learned computer programs that are useful for me. Now I can do my homework on the computer.”

In June, the Stealth Sisters learned about Bacha Posh. Students discussed how some girls in some parts of Afghanistan are forced to cover themselves as boys until puberty. The students discussed and wrote about the topic enthusiastically, learning about women’s rights in the meantime. 

At the end of the month, exams and quizzes were taken from the students, and feedback was given. During the past three months, students have been learning about women’s rights and how they can take the lead in improving them in Afghan society. They have responded positively to the programs and have expressed their happiness about having this platform through Sahar.


There are many ways that women’s rights are being infringed upon in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Only this week the Taliban has decided to close all women’s salons, another blow to women following rulings about clothing, education, and employment- to name a few. Sahar Education is proud to fight back against oppression and to support others in their bid for equality. 

One of the most disturbing ways the Taliban has impacted life in Afghanistan is to all but wipe out traditional clothing and expressions of the beauty and joy that Afghan women have in their culture. In 2021, Vogue shared a story about one Afghan refugee standing up against this loss of cultural heritage via Instagram. 

“Afghan women on social media around the world began to speak out against Taliban rule and post images of themselves in their traditional ethnic clothing with the hashtag #donttouchmyclothes” and Lema Afzal embraced the community, sharing stunning photos of her Afghan cultural outfits.

Now, two years later, Afghanistan is a blur of women in long black robes and hijabs. The vibrant and beautiful dresses of each tribe are dying within the country. It is up to those of us with the freedom to express ourselves to keep it alive.

“While Afzal is currently in Belgium, she nevertheless hopes that the posts of her in vibrant, traditional Afghan clothing will educate the world about her country’s rich history.”


Photos: @lemaafzal

Want to get involved in Afghan girls’ education? Join us July 10th for our virtual info session or donate July 12th on Global Giving to increase your impact!

You can change the life of a girl and her community.

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