Saturday, 6 February 2010

Afghan Women's Writing Project

About a month ago I came across the Afghan Women's Writing Project, a website designed to give a voice and an international platform to women writing in Afghanistan, which is even now one of the most difficult countries for women to live in. The blog posts one or two pieces of writing a day, from creative writing or poetry to personal stories and accounts, and I find a lot of the writing simultaneously moving, heartbreaking or horrifying, and surprising, warm and hopeful. Alongside the testaments to abuse and repression and lack of freedoms are stories of hope, of women supported and encouraged by both male and female relatives, of people simply keeping hope and education alive even under the Taliban.

The story that first brought my attention to this site was "I am for sale, who will buy me?" via calls to try and save this young teacher of English from being sold to an abusive relative by her Talib brothers. But this same piece contains the story of the father who taught his daughter at home when it was illegal for her to go to school, who bought her books and encouraged her to learn and, later, to teach.

Others stories shared on AWWP include a profile of a female karate instructor, a girl whose letter to her parents persuaded them not to marry her off at 14 but allow her to enter higher education, a harrowing tale of escape from vengeful Taliban, and many other stories. As I say, both sobering atrocities and simple hope populate my news feeds in the morning thanks to this site. It's an excellent, eye-opening project.

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