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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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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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June 2023 Newsletter

As we enter the summer season, we leave behind a highly productive Spring and look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of Afghan girls for the second half of 2023. As you read this newsletter, you will notice it has changed in format and content. We hope you enjoy the changes and welcome any comments or suggestions from our devoted friends!

Sahar Education is pleased to announce our new Operations & Finance Manager, Allie Renar. Allie brings 9 years of progressive experience working with nonprofits organizing fundraising events, donor campaigns, and digital marketing strategies to the Sahar team.

Allie joined Sahar Education to bring her skills and experience to help advance gender equity through education for Afghan girls.

We are excited to see the contributions Allie will make to our organization and those individuals and programs we support!

Upcoming Events

July Bonus Day

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 is available in Matching Funds for participating projects!

15% match on donations from $100 – $499 (while funds remain)
30% 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!

Program Updates

Women’s Empowerment Workshop

The Women Empowerment Workshop at Sahar Education & our partner School continues to make significant strides in empowering young girls who are unable to access secondary education due to the Taliban’s ban. In the month of May, the program proved to be productive and fruitful, fostering an environment of hope and growth for the 20 female students enrolled.

The Women Empowerment sessions have become a focal point of interest for the students. These sessions provide a safe and supportive space for them to openly share their thoughts and ideas, encouraging conversations on crucial yet sensitive topics. The workshops have been instrumental in enhancing the students’ self-confidence and their ability to express their voices effectively. In May, the topic of discussion centered around human rights, prompting one student to reflect on her newfound understanding of the privilege of social time with friends as her basic right. The sessions are designed to be interactive and learner-centered, ensuring active participation and engagement.

In the English language classes, the students diligently work on improving their reading, writing, and speaking skills. Collaborative activities, such as working in pairs and groups, foster teamwork and peer learning, allowing students to benefit from one another’s knowledge and experiences. Throughout May, students focused on learning present and past tenses, progressing to conversational exercises in English. To reinforce their skills, students are encouraged to communicate primarily in English during class time. Weekly and monthly quizzes are used as assessment tools to monitor progress and identify areas that require additional attention.

The computer classes have been equally productive, with students completing the Paint program and transitioning to the Microsoft package. The students learned about the File and Edit menus in MS Word 2019, honing their document creation, editing, and design skills.

A student from our Women's Empowerment program talks about her experience

The upcoming focus will be on creating tables within Word documents. Monthly project submissions provide students with opportunities to apply their knowledge and gauge their progress in practical settings.

The program team utilizes creative methods beyond the standard curriculum to help students develop their skills. Each student has been provided with the Kids A-Z application, which offers a variety of leveled books covering diverse topics, including humans, animals, plants, famous biographies, science, and inventions. In class, the books are played by native speakers, allowing students to improve their English pronunciation and expand their general knowledge. The teacher guides students in translating each page and solving in-book quizzes, further enhancing their learning experience.

Ensuring the safety of students is of paramount importance in this challenging environment. The program provides transportation services to and from the school premises, minimizing potential risks for the students. To adhere to the Taliban’s regulations, students are required to wear their hijabs at all times, and teachers diligently enforce this rule. Additionally, students are encouraged to wear masks during their bus commutes to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to the vehicle.

The second round of the English, IT, and women empowerment program at Sahar Education & our partner School has proven to be a beacon of hope for young girls unable to pursue formal education. By providing a nurturing and empowering environment, the program aims to equip these students with essential skills and knowledge, enabling them to overcome barriers and achieve their aspirations. The dedication and commitment of the program’s team members contribute significantly to the success of this initiative, ensuring a brighter future for these young women.

Your continued support ensures these girls continue to have access to educational programs which enrich their lives and provide new opportunities! Thank you!

Get to Know Afghanistan

In this section of our newsletter, learn about Afghanistan and the beauty of the diverse cultures in the country. This month we discuss Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha, which has a special position in Islamic countries, is the most important feast of the Muslim calendar and is marked auspiciously for three straight days in Afghanistan. Afghans are on the threshold of celebrating Eid al-Adha in the country. Eid preparations start with dispatching pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj.

This festival is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice everything for Almighty Allah. Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar. Eid al-Adha concludes the Pilgrimage to Makkah. Eid al-Adha lasts for three days.

During the feast of Eid al-Adha, Muslims re-enact Ibrahim’s obedience by sacrificing a cow or ram. The family will eat about a third of the meal a third goes to friends and relatives, and the remaining third is donated to the poor and needy. The giving of charity in the form of money, food, or clothes to the homeless or poor is another key tradition of Eid al-Adha.

In Afghanistan, a week before Eid al-Adha, people get prepared as they clean their homes to welcome and host guests on Eid days. They go to markets to buy new clothes, dry and fresh fruits. Those who are rich and would like to sacrifice a cow or ram to re-enact Ibrahim’s obedience go to markets to buy cows and rams to sacrifice during Eid days. Then the “Qurbani meat” is distributed among family, friends, and needy people.

The morning of the first day follows with a special prayer, the Eid prayer when Muslims pray for Almighty Allah’s blessing. People visit family members, and relatives and treat their guests with different kinds of food, and fruits, and organize family picnics. On this day, families, relatives, and friends who broke up, reunite, forget, and forgive past differences as a virtue of Eid. And, for every Afghan, it is a very special period.

Source: The Kabul Times

Sheer Khurma is a traditional dessert in Afghanistan!

Celebrate Eid al-Adha with Sheer Khurma
“Sheer” means milk in Persian and “khurma” means dates.

The dish which truly represents the essence of Eid-ul-Fitr is Sheer Khurma. Around the world, it is a dish associated with Muslim celebrations. A vermicelli pudding prepared by Muslims on Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha in Afghanistan, India, Iran, and many parts of Central Asia.

The Silk Road which connected the Subcontinent and Persia, remains the first and the most important road to convey goods and cultures of ancient times. At least in the Subcontinent.

This dish is made from various dry fruits, vermicelli, condensed milk, sugar, etc. Depending on the region, cardamom, pistachios, almonds, cloves, saffron, raisins, and rose water are also added.

This special dish is served on the morning of Eid day in the family after the Eid prayer as breakfast, and throughout the day to all the visiting guests. In its original form, it consists of dates mixed with milk, dry fruits, and nuts from Afghanistan which is where it originated.

Source: Algochak Recipe


Seeking Board Members

Sahar Education is actively seeking experienced, passionate, and diverse board members to help guide the organization as it grows. 


“Sahar partners with grassroots, Afghan-based organizations to create educational opportunities and safe learning spaces for girls and women in Afghanistan, empowering and inspiring children and their families to build peaceful, thriving communities.”

After the Taliban banned formal education for girls above 6th grade, Sahar is finding innovative ways to promote girls’ access to education in Afghanistan. It is now more important than ever to show up for girls’ education in Afghanistan in any capacity possible.


Sahar began as Journey with an Afghan School, a group founded to build bridges of understanding between the U.S. and Afghanistan for peace and cooperation in 2001. Since then, Sahar has expanded: building schools, and computer centers, and managing teacher training programs in Northern Afghanistan. Sahar became a stand-alone non-profit in 2009 in order to expand and continue our efforts. Sahar has worked in this war zone for nearly two decades to increase the status of girls and women in Afghanistan through education, enabling them to participate actively in the social, political, and economic arenas in their communities.

Sahar approaches girls’ education from multiple levels because we know that it takes a holistic approach to create real change. We work with partners in the U.S. and on the ground in Afghanistan to create safe learning spaces and, deliver educational and vocational training programs, and women empowerment and health workshops. These projects bolster local economies and strengthen communities, as well as fortify bonds between Afghanistan and the West.

Sahar serves girls in Tajik, Pashtun, Hazara, and Uzbek communities – rural as well as in the urban environment of Mazar-i-Sharif, and Kabul. With formal secondary education banned for girls in Afghanistan, we are partnering with local schools and organizations to provide underground coding and English, IT, and Women Empowerment courses. These innovative courses are led by locals and supported by training and funding from Sahar.


Sahar follows a disciplined and careful process focused on lasting change in the region. Our projects always address a clear educational need, have the support of local communities, and are implemented by an Afghan workforce.  


Sahar helps thousands of Afghan girls get into school and stay in school. Our programs provide: 

 • Access to education 

• Digital literacy 

• Teacher training 

• Early marriage prevention education 


Sahar Board Members will have the privilege of working collaboratively with our US and Afghan team, creating programs and building schools that genuinely change lives. The board provides strategic direction and oversight to our well-established non-profit, ensuring we are the best stewards possible for our supporters and the people of Afghanistan.  


• You are passionate about access to education. 

• You are excited about creating opportunities for girls, women, and families in Afghanistan. 

• You communicate well and can build awareness of Sahar and expand our connections to grow our organization’s awareness and support. 

• You want to be a part of a dynamic board and have the time and energy to spend 5-8 hours a month doing board work: attending board meetings, participating in committee work, and being an ambassador for Sahar in your community.  

• You want to build partnerships for Sahar to expand its local and global network. 


• You have prior non-profit board experience and are ready to bring your experience and insight to another organization. 

• You are an experienced fundraiser and enthusiastic about sharing your skills. 

• You have a personal connection to Afghanistan. 

• You have experience in finance and/or accounting.


Sahar is seeking to bring on new board members to serve three-year terms beginning June 2023. Please email [email protected] with any questions and to receive the short online application. Interested candidates must complete an application by June 30th, and will be interviewed by our recruiting team. 

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