Transform Lives of Afghanistan's Most Forgotten

by Hagar USA, which supports the work of Hagar International
EWP Women on an excursion
EWP Women on an excursion

“I understand other client’s problems and they understand mine. We are no longer worried about sharing our problems and it helps me share my pain and feel light. I learned lessons from many of them and I was also a lesson for many others.” -Fatima, EWEP 

“I am sure if I had been in my village I would have remained as a blind person. I could not learn anything. I learned lots of things staying with Hagar. I am safe here. I want to work and make money for my future life.”  -Woman in the TCC during a counselling meeting


  • EWEP’s community module programme has been so successful that families that originally prohibited their daughters and wives attend are now allowing them to participate.
  • 80% of EWEP clients passed their literacy classes
  • EWEP identified ‘Canadian Women for Afghanistan Women’ as a new partner
  • A two day training for the border coalition in Ningarhar province was successful with 44 stakeholders including law enforcement agencies, police, border police, prosecutors, court and civil society
  • Sometimes working in a warzone is hard and makes daily activities more difficult to attend important functions. Due to security problems staff had trouble reaching places and attending meetings at the end of 2014.  We forsee this issue continuing in 2015 and are working to figure out the best work arounds. 
  • Two clients had successful surgical treatments and are now healthy
During counter-trafficking training
During counter-trafficking training


Afghanistan Programme Updates


“It is exciting to see clients flourish and become independent. It empowers other clients to make plans for themselves.”-Khatera, Programme Manager, EWEP



80 clients involved currently in theEWEP program

240 clients accessed basic education through EWEPS community models expansion

1 woman and her four children reintegrated to a new community. She was able to secure employment, find accommodation, purchase goods and is on her way to full independence

 With the launch of its Community Models project, EWEP services will extend to nine districts within Kabul. Through a carefully planned screening process, EWEP will register and take on clients to administer selected programming to fit each district’s needs.

Community Models is expected to bring in an additional 400 clients by the end of next year!·

TIPCAP’s last coalition meeting brought to light 13 new TIP investigations. The TIPCAP coalition is keeping a close eye on these investigations to see where they and their partners can step in to best support the TIP survivors.



The TCC entered a new partnership with ‘Skateistan’ ( – which combines skateboarding with educational outcomes with girls and working children in Afghanistan and Cambodia.

l Forgotten No More: Restoration for Afghan Boy Survivors project successfully launched in early September. A programme manager, a new cook, a new driver and a wonderful set of house parents were hired on to the project. The boys are safe and healthy as Hagar Afghanistan get’s ready for the fall. 


Anisa's Story

A women who has suffered human rights abuse for several years

We moved so many times – but they would always find us.

Anisa is a smart and well-spoken 20 year old Iranian girl who fell in love with an Afghan carpenter. She could never have dreamed that her love story would lead her into so much trouble.

"I spoke to a woman in my neighbourhood who told me about the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and UNHCR. They immediately directed me to a shelter where I stayed for 35 days; but I felt so alone in this shelter – people would treat me badly because I was Iranian. One day, I was referred to the TCC (Transitional Care Centre).  People do not judge me here and I feel welcomed. I hope to stay here until I can find refugee status in a country that is safe and welcoming for me and my husband."

After eloping with her husband to Afghanistan to escape family feuding over their relationship, she faced threats and incredible challenges. Anisa’s uncle is highly placed in the government and has many connections, which he repeatedly used to track down Anisa and her husband.

Strong class tensions that have been present for many years exist between Iranian and Afghan cultures and discrimination against Afghans continues to permeate Iranian culture. It brought great shame to Anisa’s family that she wed an Afghan man and helps to explain why the family went through such incredible measures to have them separated. 

In mid-2013, Anisa came to Hagar’s TCC. Hagar will continue to hope with Anisa, all the while making sure she is safe, enjoys her human rights to education and legal aid, as well as individualized psychosocial care. Anisa stayed strong and remains strong in hope that one day she will be able to enjoy a safe and normal life with her husband.

*Hagar pursues the highest degree of care and protection for its clients; names have been changed and images do not necessarily reflect the individual profiled.

The ‘Token Economy’ has been working wonderfully since its launch in August. The system positively reinforces ‘goal achievement’ and has led to post-traumatic growth for many of the TCC’s clients.


Funding Update

Current Programmes:

Transitional Care Centre: 2013 90K gap; 2014 $200K gap

Pending Programmes

Group Home Scheme: $ 100K for research pilot


It’s never mattered what I’ve wanted. A mentally disabled husband. His abusive family. The murdering of our children. My life has been filled with endless torture and pain.

I wanted to go to school. I wanted to get a job. I wanted to live safely and independently. But in our family no one cared. No one has ever cared.

Husbands attacked wives. Sons beat their mothers. In-laws abused in-laws. My mother-in-law killed my youngest while still inside me. My brother-in-law beat his nephew—my son—to death with a gun. Another used his fists to forever silence my young daughter. And I saw, heard and felt it all.

A neighbor found out what happened to me and offered her home with the promise of living like sisters. But from the moment I arrived, I was treated like a slave. I had been welcomed into another prison.  One day—when no one was watching—I escaped with only the scarf on my head. I encountered the Human Rights Commission through the kindness of a stranger and eventually was directed to a shelter where I found my first safe place to live.

When I arrived, I didn’t speak. All I felt was pain and emptiness. I was so ashamed of what had happened to me. And I hated myself for it.

Then one day, I felt interest rising in my heart. Life returned to my body as I learned about Hagar’s Empowering Women for Economic Participation Program (EWEP). I received training on employability skills like teamwork, problem-solving and self-management and when I was finished, I even got a job interview. I was hired by a local milk and cheese factory and have begun putting my life back together.

I realize now that I don’t have to hate myself because of what happened to me—that it’s alright for me to heal and that it’s alright for me to begin again. A good life is all I’ve ever really wanted.

Over these last months, EWEP has supported Zarifa and encouraged her to participate in additional trainings offered. Throughout her career counselling sessions, she has begun to open her heart to the idea of new experiences and new opportunities. She is beginning to believe that she has value and that the violence that was perpetrated upon her does not define her. She has started to communicate with others in the shelter and has given herself permission to learn and to grow—past the trauma, past the hell, and past the pain that threatened to steal her future. She’s choosing life. And for us, seeing Zarifa find full life is the whole reason we do what we do.  

When you support this project -- Transform Lives of Afghanistan's Most Forgotten -- you bring hope and better futures to more women like Zarifa.


Tahmina's story of healing

Not long ago Tahmina*, a 16-year-old girl, was living quite happily with her mother, father and sister in a southern Afghan village. Unjustly accused of having an affair, Tahmina was punished for the crime. With the help of her father and sister, she was able to escape and found refuge at Hagar. Her journey continues as she finds hope and renewed value.  Here is her story, in her words:

I didn’t have an affair. But that didn’t matter. There was a sham trial, a false conviction, and a brutal flogging.

But not for the man who accused me, or the man accused along with me. They both went home unharmed. I was the one who went home in agony.

And it wasn’t just once. They came back again the next day.  I fled, but the welts came with me—along with the anger. It was so injust.

When I first got to Hagar, even though I was safe, I picked fights. I was so bored and alone.

But that was only at first. Now, I am so grateful to be learning new things. Now I am being trained and am remembering that I have value—because my trainers value me as a person.  With the training, I know I'll be able to get a job and support myself.  I know that soon I will be free to live a better life.

When you support this project -- Transform Lives of Afghanistan's Most Forgotten -- you bring hope and better futures to more women like Tahmina.

*not her real name



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Organization Information

Hagar USA, which supports the work of Hagar International

Location: Charlotte, NC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Catherine Sherrod
Director of Development
Eau Claire, WI United States

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