Afghan Women's Writing Project
Mission: By pairing American authors and teachers with small classes of women in Afghanistan, and maintaining a blog of their writing, the Afghan Women's Writing Projectencourages the voices of Afghan women at a time when the Taliban is reasserting control in portions of the country.
Founder or Executive Director: Masha Hamilton
Year founded: 2009
Accomplishments: In its short lifetime, the project already has two classes currently running, and is hoping to start a third during Summer 2009. It is also raising funds to supply the women with laptops and jumpdrives so that they can work from home and have male relatives send their work at the Internet café, as it is uncomfortable for the women to go to the Internet café in some areas of the country.
Profile: The Afghan Women's Writing Project began as an idea during novelist Masha Hamilton's last trip to Afghanistan in November 2008. The project is aimed at allowing Afghan women to have a direct voice in the world, not filtered through male relatives or members of the media. Many of these Afghan women have to make extreme efforts to gain computer access in order to submit their writings, in English, to the project.
The project reaches out to talented and generous women author/teachers here in the United States and engages them, on a volunteer, rotating basis, to teach Afghan women online from Afghanistan. (It uses women teachers solely due to cultural sensitivities in Afghanistan.) Through this ongoing interaction, the participants in the project hope to encourage the women to develop their voices and share their stories. Portions of the work will be put on a blog on a regular basis, with the goals of instilling a sense of pride in these women, educating the teachers and readers of the blog, recording the project itself, and providing a positive link between Afghans and Americans at a time when those relationships have become problematic.
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room
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