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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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September Newsletter

September is a time for Back to School preparations in the United States. Many parents are buying clothes and supplies for their children and looking forward to those first-day photos. However, for girls above grade 6 in Afghanistan, September is just another month with no hope in sight for a reprieve from the oppressive policies of the Taliban. 

Girls impacted by the education ban report feeling hopeless and unsure about their futures. Many families already have turned to early marriage in a society where the opportunities for women are dwindling quickly. 

Your continued support of Sahar Education is a lifeline for the girls we serve. Our commitment to bringing hope through education to Afghan girls and their communities has not wavered. We continue to search for new partners and opportunities to help more girls. 

Please consider supporting the growth of our programs and ongoing efforts to educate Afghan girls through a monthly donation or a one-time contribution. Refer to our events page for opportunities to stretch your donation even further through matching campaigns! 


Safer World Fund Matching Campaign with Global Giving

September 11th through January 1st, 2024

Donate to Sahar Education in September through the Safer World Campaign and your contribution will go 50% further! Donations up to $1000 per individual will be matched through January 1st, 2024. 

To participate in this campaign, bookmark one of the two listed projects today! 

Defy the Taliban, Coding Classes for Afghan Girls

Empower an Afghan Girl to Find Her Voice

Over $40,000 in matching funds are available for projects included in the Safer World Fund this year! Sahar is one of 9 organizations selected to fundraise during this campaign. 

September Little By Little Campaign with Global Giving

September 18th through 22nd, 2023

This campaign focuses on how small contributions can make an enormous difference in the lives of people! Each day, Sahar programs change the lives of Afghan girls with your support. On September 18th, donations up to $50 per donor will receive 50% matching! There is no cap on matching funds over the 5 days of this campaign!

Want to help Sahar make an impact on Afghan girls? Share our Global Giving page with your friends, families, and colleagues on social media! 

A Night in Afghanistan

Join Sahar Education on October 25th at 6:00 pm for A Night in Afghanistan, a benefit. Enjoy Afghan culture, food, and music, and learn about the continued resistance of Afghan girls! 

Hear from Executive Director, Meetra Alokozay, Program Manager, Shogofa Amini, and a special guest about how Afghan girls are resisting the strict edict of the Taliban. Experience Afghan culture without the oppressive lens of the Taliban. 

100% of the $100 min donation during the event supports life-changing programs for Afghan women. Donations over $250 receive 100% matching from a generous sponsor. 

Tickets are available now! Register today before tickets sell out! 


August marked the 5th month of the current Stealth Sisters cohort! The girls have advanced in all areas including English, computers, and women’s empowerment.

Last month, Program Manager Shogofa Amini began interviewing students in this program to get their perspectives on classes. Currently, we are working on producing a documentary in partnership with the on-the-ground program leaders to share more about the brave girls in these courses. 

In August, girls in the Stealth Sisters program learned about domestic violence and depression. These hot-button issues led to many debates and discussions which further improved the English and critical thinking skills of the students. Additionally, girls learned about menstrual hygiene and developed strategies for improving mental health. 

One of the important impacts of this program is that these topics help girls cope with the situations they face at home and prepare them to have difficult conversations with their friends and families, advocating for themselves and each other against violence, early marriage, and the isolating effects of depression. 


Afghan women are no strangers to adversity. Recently, women’s rights activist Mahbouba Seraj confronted the Taliban in a documentary. In a report from Aljazeera, Seraj argued with Taliban representatives on the importance of opening girls’ schools. 

“For God’s sake, please open the girls’ schools,” she says. “It is not possible to have a generation that doesn’t go to school.”

However, the answer of the Taliban while not budging on girls’ education, gives hope to Sahar. 

The Taliban representative’s response is that “if schoolgirls go against the government” then that could “destabilize the Afghan society.”

“If we don’t agree with the solution that the scholars advise for us, and if they think we are going in the wrong direction, it could cause division and bring down the government.” 

Meanwhile, girls are doing just that. Taking back their futures, becoming empowered and perhaps, someday soon, these girls will rise up against the oppression of the Taliban.

Support our programs to help more girls and women defy the Taliban!

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A Night In Afghanistan

Benefit For Sahar Education

Join Sahar Education in celebrating the resilience of Afghan women! Enjoy an evening of Afghan music, hors d’oeuvres, wine, and henna. Speakers Meetra Alokozay, Shogofa Amini, and a special guest (TBA) will share the experience of Afghan women living under the Taliban and how Sahar programs provide hope when all seems bleak! 

100% of donations made during the event will support life-changing programs for Afghan women and girls—contributions of $250 and above are eligible for 100% matching from a generous benefactor. 

Register today to ensure your ticket to this intimate and immersive experience! Not sure you can attend in person? Virtual tickets are also available!

We look forward to seeing you on October 25th!

Register Today!

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Two Years of Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Education: A Fragile Promise

Education has long been a cornerstone of empowerment for women around the world. Under the Taliban’s previous rule, girls were largely barred from attending schools, denying them opportunities to learn and grow. In recent years, there have been promises of change, with the Taliban suggesting that girls’ education would be allowed within the boundaries of Islamic principles.

However, the implementation has been far from uniform. Throughout the country, girls above grade 6 are banned from attending school. Reports suggest that while some regions have seen a limited return of younger girls to classrooms, many others still struggle with barriers. The lack of qualified female teachers, limited school infrastructure, and lingering concerns about the Taliban’s commitment to long-term educational empowerment all contribute to the uncertain educational landscape for Afghan girls.

In A CBS report, August 1st, 2023 the degrading conditions of Afghan women were mentioned in addition to other human rights violations.

Since retaking the country, the Taliban has barred girls over the age of 12 from formal education, made it virtually impossible for them to work in most professions, and restricted their movements in public unless chaperoned by an adult male relative.

The most recent crackdown was a ban on beauty salons, which the clerics ordered to close countrywide last month, eliminating one of the last means Afghan women had of interacting and earning income.

Despite two years of consistent demands from the U.S., the United Nations, and many other countries, the Taliban has not made any concessions to improve human rights in Afghanistan, despite the country continuing to receive billions of dollars in aid annually.’

CBS Report August 1st, 2023

It is the experience of Sahar that the women of Afghanistan are driven to better themselves and their country, despite barriers. The girls in our programs are breaking strict edicts against education and even have to conceal their true purpose for attending sessions. There are risks to learning in Afghanistan, but for the girls in our programs, the possibility of a brighter future is worth the danger.

Women's Empowerment curriculum is included in all Sahar programs!

Social Fabric and Women’s Roles

The last two years have seen shifts in social dynamics, affecting women’s roles and freedoms. The Taliban has indicated that women can work, but closing many places of business for women, restricting travel without male accompaniment and other actions make working unrealistic for most women. Many women have been forced out of jobs due to restrictions, and in some cases, they have been limited to roles within the confines of their homes.

The social fabric that once included women as active contributors to various sectors has been strained. Afghan women who were once teachers, doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs find themselves unable to serve their communities and families. Bans on women working for NGOs have led to many organizations leaving the region and those who stayed report they are 75% less effective without women. 

The Afghan economy collapsed after August 2021, as millions of people lost salaries when the US, World Bank, and other donors stripped the Central Bank of Afghanistan of its foreign assets and access to financial assistance. Over 90 percent of the Afghan population faces serious food insecurity, along with a lack of medicine and a rise in malnutrition-related diseases. The Taliban’s actions blocking women from working in humanitarian assistance exacerbated the crisis.’

Afghanistan Country Page, World Human Rights Watch

Mental Health: Silent Struggles

Amid the changes and uncertainties, the mental well-being of Afghan women and girls has taken a toll. The repressive environment under previous Taliban rule has left psychological scars on many, and the current situation exacerbates those wounds. Many girls and women report feelings of hopelessness under the current regime. Sahar hears directly from those most affected, who have been banned from education and face uncertain futures. Our programs work to improve stigma about mental health and give these girls the one thing they need most, hope. 

For many women throughout the country, the limited avenues for seeking mental health support only compound these issues. The stigma surrounding mental health and a lack of accessible resources prevent many from seeking help, leaving their struggles unaddressed and often invisible.

Global Solidarity and Hope

Girls in the Underground TechSheroes course form community despite strict bans from the Taliban.

While the situation for Afghan women and girls appears challenging, there remains a glimmer of hope. The international community, humanitarian organizations, and local activists continue to advocate for the rights and well-being of Afghan women. Efforts to provide education, support mental health, and empower women economically are ongoing, though they face considerable obstacles.

Despite the continued threat of violence for dissent, 60 women protested the ban on beauty salons on July 26th. Per the AP,

Dozens of Afghan women protested a beauty salon ban on Wednesday after the Taliban ordered their closure nationwide. Security forces used firehoses, stun guns, and shot their guns into the air to break up the protest.

“We are here for justice,” said one protester who identified herself as Farzana. “We want work, food, and freedom.”’

AP NEWS, Afghan Women Protesting Beauty Salon Ban

One thing that remains true amid continued pressure from the Taliban, women and girls are not giving up. Those girls enrolled in Sahar’s programs use the opportunity to change their futures. Even more girls and women are suffering throughout Afghanistan and in need of a ray of hope.

Each day, Sahar programs serve hundreds of girls throughout the country, but there are millions unable to access education, living shrouded by hopelessness. As we work to expand our underground programs, we must acknowledge that though we cannot help every girl, the impact we have on the lives of those in our programs is immense. 

Girls graduate the IT portion of the Underground TechSheroes program this July!

As we reflect on the challenges facing Afghan women, it is essential to stand in solidarity, amplify their voices, and work collectively to ensure that their rights and aspirations are recognized and upheld on both national and international stages.

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Education Improves Equity for Afghan Girls

Currently, 19.4 million women and girls (49.5% of Afghanistan’s population) in Afghanistan are banned from pursuing education, working outside, traveling, and attending public places. The fall of the government in Afghanistan in August 2021 shifted the trajectory for millions of girls in Afghanistan. 

A student taking a test in our Underground TechSheroes program.

When the Taliban took over the government in Afghanistan in 1996, they immediately targeted women’s rights by banning universities for women, forcing them to quit their jobs, restricting access to healthcare for women, setting a brutal dress code, and limiting their ability to move freely in the city. These rules not only resulted in a generation of illiterate women in Afghanistan, but also an increase in forced marriages, child marriages, and domestic violence. In fact, many families sent their daughters to countries like Pakistan and Iran to protect them.

After the Taliban were replaced with a US-backed government in 2001, Afghan women made incredible advancements in different areas including a 27% share in parliament and being part of the Afghan military and police. Despite the advancements, Afghan women still lagged behind Afghan men as more work was needed to attain gender equality. With the Taliban returning to power in 2021, Afghan women went two decades back in the span of one day. 

Making progress is difficult for a country when it is deprived of the contribution of half of its society. When girls are educated, they are less likely to be exploited, abused, face discrimination, go through child marriages, and die in childbirth. Education empowers girls to make their own decisions, raise better-nourished children, contribute to the economy, invest in their community, be active politically, and change the world.

Students practice coding skills in our Underground TechSheroes program

As a nonprofit organization, Sahar Education believes in the power of education for girls and works to empower Afghan women through programs such as Stealth Sisters- English, IT, Women’s Empowerment, Underground TechSheroes- IT & Coding, and Threads of Hope- sewing. These not only help girls and women learn essential skills but prepare them for life-changing opportunities, becoming financially independent individuals and sources of change in their communities.

Please join Sahar in supporting education for all Afghan women and girls as a means of improving the trajectory of the country and the future of each girl. You can get involved by volunteering, donating, or sharing our mission with your friends. 

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July Bonus Day

Donate NOW to make a difference in the lives of Afghan girls!

Donate through GlobalGiving for maximum impact before funds run out!

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

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