Sahar Speaks: Afghan female correspondents report on subjects that only Afghan women can unlock and have access to.

Sahar Speaks: The Afghan woman’s story is being told by Afghan men, foreign men and foreign women. As the situation for women in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, the urgency of realising Sahar Speaks is greater than ever. It takes effort to recruit, train and encourage Afghan female journalists. It requires intentional investment. That is where Sahar Speaks steps in. The vision behind our programme can be seen in its name. “Sahar” is a common female name in Afghanistan, translating as “dawn.” Its meaning here is two-fold: it represents all Afghan women, and also heralds the beginning of a new era, where Afghan female reporters can tell their stories to the world. We hope to change the paradigm that has contributed to the marginalisation of women’s voices.

Kabul in 1979 and 2016: A Mother and Daughter Reflect on Change

By Sparghai Basir Aryan

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In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, beginning 36 years of continuous war and conflict. Here, 26-year-old writer Sparghai Basir Aryan compares her life in war-torn, oppressive Kabul with that of her mother, who lived peacefully and enjoyed wearing skirts and no headscarf, something unheard of today. The women have much in common: both studied at Kabul University and worked for Save the Children. But war made their lives dramatically different. Continue reading…

Combating the Misery of Menstruation for Afghan Girls

By Sahar Fetrat

sp6Zahra was in third grade when her period started. At the time, she and her family were in Iran, having fled civil war in their homeland of Afghanistan. Like other Afghan refugees, Zahra and her family endured discrimination and prejudice, and were blamed for bringing illnesses into Iran. When Zahra saw the blood on her underwear, she was convinced she was sick. Could it be cancer? In Zahra’s neighborhood, Iranians associated cancer with Afghans. Would she have to drop out of school? Worse, was she dying? Continue reading…

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