Wednesday, July 07, 2010

News from The Afghan Women's Writing Project

Issue No. 13                        
July 2010
As we head into the July, I am amazed by the strong and moving pieces submitted by our writers, and tended to with grace and skill by our mentors. This past month, Seeta sends us a moving piece on a wedding she attended in which the bride must wear a burkah instead of a gown; Freshta wrote a touching piece about school childrens' resilience; Shogofa pens a tribute to the power of friendship; and Seeta, again, tells us the emotional story of a mother longing for the son who was taken from her by her husband's family.

June was an active month for the Afghan Women's Writing Project (AWWP). Founder Masha Hamilton was presented with the 2010 Women's National Book Association Award for her work with AWWP. Well deserved, Masha!

AWWP continues to grow. We have a new board member: Vic Getz, Phd, who is IN KABUL and is a gender specialist and runs the We are looking to bring on 2-3 more board members over the next 6 months.

We also have a new AWWP staff member in Kabul with Tina Singleton, who will be working on expanding our program on the ground.  When not sucked into AWWP, Tina is the Advisor for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Kabul.

AWWP welcomes accountant, Ghelda Noor, who has extensive experience working with NGOs and is generously donating her time to organize our books as we race towards 501c3 status and continue to grow.  

Some of the photographs taken by our Afghan women during their photography class with Anne Jones are up on our site. Take a look at the images captured by Seeta and Zariasht of womens' lives-they show a side of Afghanistan that we rarely see in the news. 

- Thanks to author and AWWP mentor Melissa Pritchard, we have launched a new Sr Airman Ashton Goodman grant in honor of a US servicewoman killed in Afghanistan while trying to improve women's rights.  All donations will be spent directly on efforts to improve Afghan women's literacy.

-Looking ahead, we are planning two more theater performances! Hopefully in San Francisco and Boston. We are currently looking for venues and directors so ifyou have any ideas on this please contact Creative Outreach Director Jeff Lyons--

Enjoy your summer reading list and please take a moment to comment on the Afghan women's writing on our website - it means so much to them.

Christina Asquith
Director AWWP

The Burqa Bridephoto by Oliver Matthys

"She has only this day to start her life with happiness," I said. "Why should she be hidden under a burqa even on her wedding day?"

By Seeta

Click here to read the full essay.

Bearing a Red Cross

Hesitantly, Friba approached the front of the class. "I have decided to punish you to remind you not to forget my lesson," the teacher said. "You are not even prepared to give me yesterday's lesson, but you can make noise in the classroom." Then she turned to me. "Freshta, give Friba a slap on the face."

By Freshta

Click here to read the full piece.

Someone Told Me

I will hold your hand when you need to run,
hold your hand when you need to write,
and the clouds who feed you with rain.
I will be with you.

By Shogofa

Click here to read the entire poem.

A Mother Expecting Still

"It was a son," her mother said with tears.
"Where is he now?"
The girl, too, began to cry. "Why didn't you allow me
to see him even once?"

by Seeta

Click here for the full poem.

A Word From Our Teachers

This portion of the newsletter will return next month.

Contact AWWP:

For more information on the Afghan Women's Writing Project please contact:
Christina Asquith, Director
Phone: 202.230.6729

AWWP Website/Magazine:
Become our fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at AWWProject.
Founder Masha' Hamilton's Website/Blog:


The Afghan Women's Writing Project was begun as a way to allow the voices of Afghan women - too often silenced - to enter the world directly, without any mediation. This project is possible only because of the outstanding American women authors and teachers who generously donate their time and energy as mentors. Additionally, the tireless contributions of these volunteers:
Jeff Lyons, Creative Outreach Director
StefanCooke, Webmaster and website designer 
Jordan Schneider, Online Magazine Editing Coordinator
Elisabeth Lehr, Workshop Program Coordinator
Rachel de Baere, Online Magazine Poetry Editor
Tahmina Popal and Tina Singleton, Liaisons in Afghanistan
Kathleen Rafiq and Heidi Levine, Photography
Valerie Wallace, Online Communications Coordinator
Our inspiring partners are SOLA and the Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation; please visit their websites.


Online Donations for Afghan Women Writers:
Many of our students and women writers, especially outside of Kabul, cannot get to an Internet cafe due to security considerations. A laptop at home and a jump drive would allow them to write their pieces, and then ask a male relative to send the work at an Internet cafe. A $20 donation will buy a flash drive and $500 in donations will buy a laptop for our women writers. No contribution is too small. Thank you for considering it.

The Afghan Women's Writing Project has filed for non-profit with 501 (c) 3 status. Your donation is tax deductible.

Click This Link To Make A Donation!
To stay informed about the latest news, events, and other developments with the Afghan Women's Writing Project, please CLICK below and join our mailing list.  We appreciate your support.
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In This Issue
The Burqa Bride
Bearing a Red Cross
Someone Told Me
A Mother Expecting Still

Sponsors & Friends:

Please visit our sponsors as a way to thank them for their wonderful support:

Friends of Afghanistan

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The Afghan Women's Writing Project | 6 Hilliard Place | Cambridge | MA | 02138

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