This past Friday, Spirit of America supported a women's shura with a Female Engagement Team in Kandahar by generously providing funding for the afternoon meal. This is the first get together they have had in months due to a new District Governor who has not been as supportive of these female meetings as his predecessor. A great turn out of close to 200 women convened at the high school next to the district center. The ultimate goal for this event was to serve as the first of many regular female shuras. This one was to get the ball rolling and focus on discussing what the females of the district would like to have as far as trainings and other sustainable programs in the area.
Field Rep Chrissy Burbach and Afghan Uniform Police Captain Noora Hyatt
The meeting was all Afghan led. Dr. Zubidah, a prominent mid-wife in the community, led the forum while another mid-wife, Dr. Majibin, and a female Afghan Uniform Police Captain, Noora Hyatt, contributed to the talks as well. Many of the women cheered and clapped as they spoke of providing them with opportunities that would allow them to get out of the house, learn a valuable skill, and improve their quality of life. This is a very traditional area as you can see most of them wear the burkas. While they did not want their faces photographed, once we stopped snapping pictures and when the men were out of the room, they felt comfortable enough to remove their covers. While the Taliban is no longer in power, these women still face many restrictions in their community as they remain at home and receive no schooling.
After the speeches, they engaged in fellowship over a small meal of meat, salad, bread, and rice. The U.S. Army Civil Affairs Team also brought along some humanitarian assistance comprised of beans, flour, cooking oil, and hygiene products to distribute to the attendees. The hope is that with the first success of this shura, these gatherings will continue at least as a chance for the women to interact with each other and then progress into classes. This could involve receiving instruction for better techniques to care for their children or learning a marketable trade. Stay tuned as we find out more in the coming months how these women make advancements in their community with the support of the U.S. military.
Afghanistan Field Rep