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International Women’s Day Virtual Round Table with Sahar Education

In honor of International Women’s Day, join Sahar Education on March 7th at 6 pm PST to learn how you can make a difference to Afghan women who are resisting the gender apartheid in their country.

No woman is truly free until we are all free. The women of Afghanistan are suffering under the oppressive rule of the Taliban but it is within our ability to empower and support them in their fight for equality!

Hear from a past student on the effectiveness of underground schools, learn about Sahar’s programs from Shogofa Amini, Program Manager, and understand how our efforts are making a difference for Afghan women.

Register free today and enter to win 4 Main Level or Club Terrace tickets to 2024 Mariner’s home games.

Sponsored By

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2023 Impact Report

“In the wake of unprecedented challenges and transformative shifts in Afghanistan’s socio-political landscape, Sahar Education emerges as a beacon of hope and resilience. As we navigate the complexities of a post-2021 era marked by the Taliban’s takeover, Sahar Education steadfastly continues its mission to empower women and girls through education.

This Impact Report for 2023 unveils the organization’s unwavering commitment to providing underground education, demonstrating the indomitable spirit that has defined Sahar’s journey since its inception in 2009.

Before the Taliban’s resurgence, Sahar Education was at the forefront of positive change in Afghanistan. From constructing schools for girls to operating teacher training centers and offering women’s empowerment classes, the organization played a pivotal role in shaping a brighter future for Afghan women and girls. The abrupt shift in the country’s dynamics necessitated a strategic pivot, leading Sahar to adapt its approach while staying true to its core values.”

Read more in the full report!

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Sahar Education Featured in The Seattle Times

Seattle group launches secret schools for Afghan girls under Taliban rule by Nina Shapiro shared our story with the Greater Seattle area and the world on December 25th, 2023.

When the Taliban reclaimed Afghanistan in 2021, Seattle-based Sahar found its mission completely undermined.

For almost 20 years, the nonprofit had worked to educate Afghan girls, denied education under the first Taliban regime in the 1990s. Sahar repaired schools and built new ones, which it turned over to Afghanistan’s education ministry to run.

The organization’s showcase was a school for 3,000 girls in northern Afghanistan, designed by the prestigious Seattle firm Miller Hull in collaboration with the University of Washington’s architecture department. The nonprofit had also broken ground on what was to be the country’s first public boarding school, also designed by Miller Hull and intended for rural girls who had to walk miles to school — risking kidnapping and attacks as Taliban traditionalists waged their insurgency.

Then, the insurgents took power.

Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times

Read the full article on the Seattle Times website.

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End-of-Year Auction

Thank you for your generous support of Sahar Education as we continue to evolve in pursuit of our mission. I am writing you to invite you to join our online auction now through December 15th! There are a few items that arrived too late for our A Night In Afghanistan event and a couple of new offerings as well. All proceeds go to further our education programs for Afghan girls. 

If you’re interested to see the auction items you can find them on the bidding website here: https://www.32auctions.com/End-Of-Year2023

Please note, bids are placed through the website but there is no credit card required to bid. Winners will have the option to pay by check or card via Sahar’s regular donation methods. Just ensure to input an email address when you bid so we can reach you if you win. Good luck!


This auction is sponsored by: The Seattle Mariners, Kabul Afghan Cuisine, and Remote Unicorn Consulting.

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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 Bonus Day

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

Donate through GlobalGiving for maximum impact before funds run out!

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Sahar Named Afghan Women & Girls Education NPO of the Year

In 2023, we have continued to put women and girls first, expanding programs despite strict bans by the Taliban. Our Stealth Sisters, Underground TechSheroes, and Threads of Change programs are currently helping Afghan girls seek a future of opportunities, not oppression.

We are focused on continuing to partner with local organizations to directly impact the lives of Afghan girls and thank all of our supporters for making our work possible! 

If you’d like to learn more about Sahar’s 2023 programs, please register for our July 10th virtual info session! This 1-hour Zoom session will allow new and old friends to learn more about our mission and how we are defying the Taliban in 2023! 

Sahar Education named NPO of the Year for Afghan Women & Girls Education!
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Take Action this World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day serves as a powerful reminder of the struggles faced by millions of displaced individuals around the world. This year, as we commemorate this important day, we want to highlight the urgent need for support and solidarity with Afghan refugees. Sahar Education is calling upon our dedicated supporters to rally behind the Afghan Adjustment Act (S.4787) and advocate for its passage. Let us explore the significance of this legislation and how it can positively impact the lives of Afghan refugees.

The Afghan Adjustment Act: An Opportunity for Hope

The Afghan Adjustment Act (S.4787) is a crucial piece of legislation that aims to provide a pathway to permanent residency for Afghan nationals who have been forced to flee their homeland due to conflict, violence, and persecution. This act acknowledges the dire circumstances faced by Afghan refugees and seeks to offer them the opportunity to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.

Supporting the Afghan Adjustment Act: Why it Matters

Providing Safety and Stability: The Afghan Adjustment Act offers a lifeline to Afghan refugees by granting them lawful permanent resident status. This vital provision ensures their safety and protection, allowing them to rebuild their lives without fear of deportation to a volatile and dangerous environment.

Fostering Integration and Rebuilding: By offering Afghan refugees the opportunity to become permanent residents, the act enables them to fully integrate into their host communities. Access to employment, education, and social services empowers refugees to contribute to their new societies and rebuild their lives with a sense of stability and dignity.

Recognizing Contributions and Shared Values: Afghan refugees bring a wealth of knowledge, skills, and cultural diversity to their host countries. By advocating for the Afghan Adjustment Act, we affirm the valuable contributions made by Afghan refugees and recognize the shared values of compassion, tolerance, and inclusivity that underpin our communities.

Taking Action: How Sahar Education Supporters Can Make a Difference

Contact Your Representatives: Reach out to your elected officials and express your support for the Afghan Adjustment Act (S.4787). Urge them to co-sponsor the bill and push for its passage. Let them know that as a Sahar Education supporter, you believe in providing a safe and stable future for Afghan refugees.

Raise Awareness: Utilize the power of social media, community events, and local networks to raise awareness about the Afghan Adjustment Act. Share stories and testimonies of Afghan refugees, highlighting the challenges they face and the opportunities the act can provide.

Collaborate with Advocacy Groups: Join forces with organizations and advocacy groups working towards refugee rights. Together, we can amplify our voices, create a stronger impact, and push for positive change.

Support Sahar Education’s Efforts: Sahar Education is committed to empowering Afghan girls and women through education. By supporting our programs, you directly contribute to the resilience and future prospects of Afghan refugees. Your donations and involvement make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected.

Read more about the Afghan Adjustment Act

On this World Refugee Day, let us stand together and advocate for the Afghan Adjustment Act (S.4787). By supporting this legislation, we have the power to provide Afghan refugees with hope, stability, and the opportunity to rebuild their lives. Together, as Sahar Education supporters, we can make a lasting impact and demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the rights and well-being of refugees worldwide. Let us seize this moment to foster compassion, unity, and justice for all.

🔔Follow Sahar for future updates! 

♥️ Support Education for Afghan Girls! 

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Seeking Board Members

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

OUR MISSION 

“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.

ABOUT SAHAR EDUCATION 

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.

OUR COMMITMENT 

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.  

OUR PROGRAMS 

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: AN OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN A VIBRANT INTERNATIONAL TEAM 

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.  

SAHAR EDUCATION NEEDS YOU IF… 

• 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. 

WE ARE ESPECIALLY INTERESTED IN TALKING TO YOU IF… 

• 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.

INTERESTED IN JOINING US? 

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. 

Get PDF announcement

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Panel Discussion: New Academic Year Under the Taliban rule: Millions of Girls Out of School

March 21st marked the start of a new academic year in Afghanistan. The Taliban have yet again, kept millions of girls out of school. Sahar Education is hosting an informative panel discussion on April 19th at 5:30 PM PST, to shed light on another academic year with no girls in secondary and higher education.

Join us by registering through this link , and be a part of the conversation on how we can break down these barriers and empower girls to pursue their dreams.

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Welcome to our new Executive Director

After an extensive search, the Board is thrilled that Meetra Alokozay will join us as Executive Director on March 14th.  As a passionate advocate for social justice and gender equality, Meetra has worked with non-profit organizations, focusing on youth and women empowerment through education in Afghanistan and in the United States.  Her experiences with diverse communities have enabled Meetra to build a rapport with a number of grassroot organizations. Meetra will take advantage of her network in the education arena in Afghanistan to lead Sahar’s next chapter.

“Having lived and worked in Afghanistan for most of my life, I recognize the importance of the work Sahar is doing in helping improve girls’ lives in Afghanistan. My lived experiences as an Afghan woman, and background with American Councils for International Education in Afghanistan has led to an in-depth understanding of the educational needs of Afghan women and girls and the social and cultural barriers around it.” –Meetra Alokozay

Meetra earned her master’s degree in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies from Loyola University Chicago through the Fulbright program in May 2020. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration with a minor in Law from the American University of Afghanistan.

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Sahar in The Seattle Times

Read about Sahar Education in The Seattle Times ahead of the Washington Give Big campaign on May 7th and 8th!

Sadaf, age 18, joined the inaugural round of the Stealth Sisters program in July 2022, only months after the Taliban closed schools for girls in Afghanistan. Joining the program was an act of desperation for Sadaf — restrictions on women mounted by the day.

Innovative, courageous organizations and individuals are ensuring that the Taliban’s announcement didn’t mean the end of girls’ educational opportunities. Washington-based nonprofit Sahar’s programs, such as Stealth Sisters, teach English and computer skills.

Sadaf completed the program in December 2022 and is now fluent in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, with improved English. By offering online Zoom-based Dari language classes, Sadaf became financially independent.

Perhaps even more critically, like many program graduates, Sadaf experienced increased confidence and willingness to speak up.

Surveys show that program participation immediately addresses feelings of depression and hopelessness caused by the current country conditions, according to Shogofa Amini, Sahar’s programs manager, an Afghan immigrant passionate about women’s empowerment and gender equity.

Continue on SeattleTimes.com

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Breaking News: The Taliban have shuttered learning centers in Kabul claiming enrollment of girls above 6th grade.

Reports have shared that multiple centers were blockaded, stopping students from attending on April 1st.

Officials of Kabul’s educational institutions have been warned by the Taliban of severe consequences should they persist in their educational endeavors.

In a recent development, the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice issued directives to educational center administrators, instructing them to prohibit entry for girls wearing veils deemed to have “non-dark colors.”

These actions unfold against the backdrop of the Taliban’s recent consolidation of power in Afghanistan, marked by their decree prohibiting female students beyond the sixth grade from accessing schools and pursuing higher education at universities.

Observers interpret these moves as part of the Taliban’s broader agenda to systematically marginalize women and girls within Afghan society, through sustained coercion and restriction of their participation in public life.

Hasht e Subh Daily

This comes as another blow to the hopes of Afghan children who only want to learn. The freedom to education is a basic human right being denied to millions across Afghanistan. This number is expected to grow as the Taliban carries out plans to close more Kabul learning centers.

“This clearly shows the Taliban aren’t planning to lift bans on girls’ education and public spaces, which pushes women out of society. This systematic elimination of women is a form of gender apartheid and should be acknowledged as such.”

Meetra Alokozay, Executive Director of Sahar Education

Underground classes continue to be the best option for girls and women inside the country who hunger to learn. You can support the efforts of brave young women by donating today!

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International Women’s Day Zoom Round Table

Missed our International Women’s Day event? You can still learn more about our programs and the impact they have on Afghan women and men by watching the recording on YouTube!

With the continued gender apartheid in Afghanistan, awareness is one of the greatest weapons against the Taliban.

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Empowering Women in Kabul: The Journey of Threads of Hope

In the heart of Kabul, a transformative program called Threads of Hope has been weaving a tapestry of empowerment and education for women who, until now, have been left in the shadows of society. These women, all over the age of 25 and coming from impoverished communities, embarked on a journey 15 weeks ago that promised to not only teach them valuable skills but also to illuminate the path to self-reliance and awareness.

Health and Empowerment: A Foundation for Growth

The Threads of Hope program is not merely about learning to sew; it’s a holistic approach to education. Over the last 15 weeks, participants have delved into crucial health workshops covering a broad spectrum of topics from reproductive health and menstruation hygiene to mental health and anger management. These sessions offer more than just information; they provide life-changing insights and tools for managing one’s health and well-being.

The program has placed a strong emphasis on women’s empowerment, tackling issues like early marriage and domestic violence through open discussions and shared experiences. It’s a space where stories of early marriage, often a silent burden carried by many of the participants, are brought to light. One student’s revelation about leadership within the household sparked conversations about women’s roles beyond traditional expectations, challenging norms and encouraging new perspectives on what it means to be a leader.

Tailoring Success: More Than Just Stitches

The tailoring classes offered by Threads of Hope have been a cornerstone of practical achievement. Participants have mastered the art of cutting fabric, sewing without errors, and even using a sewing machine with proficiency. This skill set has already enabled some to start their own small businesses, sewing dresses for others, and thus contributing to their families’ incomes. The sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from creating something with one’s own hands cannot be understated; it’s a powerful testament to their growth and independence.

The Power of Literacy

Beyond the threads and needles, the program has opened the doors to literacy for these women. Starting from the basics of the Faris alphabet to simple mathematics, they have embarked on a journey of discovery. Being able to read signs, write their names, and engage with the world through written words is a newfound freedom. It’s a tool that not only empowers them in their daily lives but also lays the foundation for lifelong learning and curiosity.

A New Horizon

The transformation witnessed over the first 15 weeks of the Threads of Hope program is profound. Women, who once saw themselves as confined to the roles of housewives, now stand as beacons of change and empowerment within their communities. Their journeys from uncertainty to confidence, from ignorance to awareness, and from dependency to self-reliance are inspiring.

At the completion of this program, each woman will be gifted a sewing machine, a symbol of their journey, and a tool for their future. Yet, the true gift they receive is immeasurable: education, empowerment, and a sense of purpose. These are the threads that will continue to weave through their lives, their families, and their communities, bringing hope and change to the fabric of society.

Threads of Hope is more than a program; it’s a movement. It’s a testament to the power of education and empowerment, proving that with the right support, women can overcome barriers and redefine their destinies. The journey of these women in Kabul is just the beginning. The hope, skills, and confidence they’ve gained will ripple through generations, weaving a brighter future for all.


Interested to learn more?

Register for the FREE International Women’s Day Zoom Round Table to hear from Threads of Hope Program Manager, Maryam.

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Breaking News: Women Allowed Limited Medical School Enrollment

In the ever-evolving landscape of women’s education in Afghanistan, recent developments have stirred a mix of hope and reflection within our mission at Sahar Education. The recent announcement of the Taliban permitting female enrollment in state-run medical institutes marks a significant milestone in the journey toward gender equality in education. As advocates, we find ourselves at a critical juncture, where progress intersects with ongoing challenges.

The Taliban have reportedly allowed female high school graduates in Afghanistan to enroll in state-run medical institutes for the new academic year that begins in March.

VOA News: Taliban Allow Female Enrollment in State-Run Medical Institutes

However, only 9 provinces have been included in the order including Kapisa, Parwan, Panjshir, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Paktika, Logar, Khost, and Paktia.

It is not clear whether the initiative will cover the remaining 22 provinces.

According to the news agency, the Taliban Ministry of Public Health has sent a letter to the Directorates of Public Health in the mentioned provinces, instructing them to start the process of recruiting 12th-grade female graduates to health institutes.

Kabul Now: Taliban Open Medical Institutes to Women Amidst Continued Restrictions

Reports from Kabul Now and VOA News shed light on this pivotal moment. The decision to open doors for women in medical studies comes as a result of persistent pressure from both domestic and international rights groups.

The UN has consistently warned about Afghanistan’s shortage of qualified health workers, especially females.

Kate Pond, a spokesperson for UNICEF, said, “there is a shortage of qualified health workers in Afghanistan overall, and women in particular,” noting that some people travel long distances for healthcare services.

Kabul Now: Taliban Open Medical Institutes to Women Amidst Continued Restrictions

This development is not merely a policy shift but a testament to the resilience and determination of Afghan women to pursue education despite adversity.

However, as we celebrate this step forward, we must confront the stark realities that persist. An article from The Associated Press serves as a poignant reminder of the obstacles still faced by Afghan girls. The closure of high schools for girls under Taliban rule highlights the urgency of our work in providing alternative avenues for education and empowerment. Due to the closure, there have been no new graduates since 2021 and Afghanistan runs the risk of having no students qualified to enter these programs in future years if high school is not reinstated.

A woman’s education can also determine if her children have basic immunization and if her daughters are married by the age of 18. The lack of women’s education is among the major drivers of deprivation, says the U.N.

Aid groups say girls are at increased risk of child labor and child marriage because they’re not at school, amid the growing hardships faced by families.

AP NEWS: 2 years ago, the Taliban banned girls from school. It’s a worsening crisis for all Afghans

At Sahar Education, we are committed to providing underground classes in essential subjects such as computer skills, coding, and English. These initiatives serve as beacons of hope, offering Afghan women the tools to carve out brighter futures for themselves and their communities.

The recent developments regarding women’s education in Afghanistan underscore the importance of our mission. They remind us that while progress is being made, much work still needs to be done. Our resolve to empower Afghan women through education has never been stronger.

As we navigate the complexities of this moment, let us draw inspiration from the resilience of Afghan women. Together, we can continue to break down barriers and build a future where every woman has the opportunity to thrive.

Want to support the continued resilience of Afghan women and girls? Join Sahar Education for a free Zoom Round Table event on March 7th.

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

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