We support women and girls in war and crisis zones
22. August 2023 - News

Women in Afghanistan: Solidarity, encouragement and motivation

The messages of solidarity for Afghan women arrived safely. And their responses are touching: They exude despair, but also courage and hope. Two years after the Taliban took power, the situation for women and girls in Afghanistan is a disaster. But solidarity can foster connection.

Screenshots of messenger chats showing a lot of hearts and crying emojis.
Love and sadness are often found close together – as in the reactions to the messages of solidarity

“As Afghan women, we want our freedom back.”

“Being a woman in a country like Afghanistan is like being a prisoner. Living in this country is worse than death. Thank you for listening to us.”

Afghan women

The desperation of the women is tangible. The messages we have received from Afghan women and girls in response to our solidarity action are full of gratitude. However, a deep sadness can also be felt. For the past two years, they have not been able to exercise many of their rights: they cannot work, they cannot attend secondary school or university, they cannot go out in public without a male escort.

“My daughter is in her first year of school. I would love her to be able to fulfil her wish of completing school and becoming a doctor.”

Afghan woman

Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan two years ago, the situation for women and girls in the country has deteriorated dramatically. Increasing numbers of prohibitions mean that women and girls are disappearing out of everyday view.

Solidarity from Germany

To mark this second anniversary, hundreds of people demonstrated their solidarity by sending postcards and emails with words of encouragement and appreciation for the Afghan women and girls. For some women, these messages were an important sign that they are still being seen.

“These words give us courage and motivation. Thank you from the depths of my heart.”

Afghan girl, 16 years old

“For me, the messages of solidarity are very important at this time because my experiences in Afghanistan are very bad. We need a hug, endless support, and kindness from all over the world.”

Saina Hamidi, Afghan women’s rights activist in Germany

“The messages of solidarity make me strong. When I read them, I could sense how I was not alone, and that a lot of people were thinking about me.”

Basira Akbarzada, Afghan women’s rights activist in Germany

For Saina Hamidi and Basira Akbarzada, our former colleagues at Medica Afghanistan, the messages convey support and hope. Because one thing is clear: Even if solidarity itself does not produce change immediately or directly – it is still important.

“We are supporting women’s rights organizations in Afghanistan, we are raising political demands with the German government, we draw media attention to the country, we have helped many colleagues to leave Afghanistan and supported them after their arrival in Germany. We want Afghan women to be heard and to enable them to reach across national borders. This is all part of our solidarity.”

Sybille Fezer, Executive Member of the Board for Programmes and Strategies

Or as the responses put it:

“Thank you all for the compassion and the messages of solidarity. Thank you for fighting tirelessly in the hope that no woman in any corner of the world will be deprived of her rights and freedoms under any circumstances.”

“We will continue to fight for our rights. We will never give up and never lose hope. I will stand up courageously against oppression and violence. And I hope you will support us until we can get out of this prison.”