Thursday, April 15, 2010

A few stories on gender inequality in Afghanistan

UK blogger Myriam Meech works for the charity Hagar International to build and operate a shelter for women in Afghanistan. The country is largely recognized as the most oppressive place for women even after Taliban rule. As one of the longest serving workers for Hagar, Meech's blog contains some stories about her work and the women she meets in Afghanistan.

We found out about the blog through the UK newspaper The Newmarket Journal. Writer Robert Andrews used some touching blog posts in forming the profile on Myriam Meech.

I was touched by one shocking story Myriam told about a young girl in Kabul.

"She was begging in the streets of Kabul and when she got invited into someone's home she was raped by a group of three men," Myriam said.

Fear often drives these girls away from their home as the consequences of being raped are seen as a disgrace to the family.

As a result of the rape, the girl gave birth and is now being supported by Hagar representatives.

In Britain we would like to think that these problems would be tackled by some sort of social support service but in Afghanistan, special people like Myriam are left to pick up the pieces.

Her internet blog titled: Reflections from Afghanistan records her observations, particularly the case of the 13-year-old girl Hagar has helped.

An extract reads: "Both mother and child are doing very well.

"The young mother has been through so much and to see her now, beaming over this beautiful new born baby wrapped up in a hand woven blanket, is a beautiful sight.

"I went down to the basement where the music was playing loudly and saw several of the girls using the exercise bikes – our newly furnished gym.

"There was a lot to celebrate that morning.

"I walked down the stairs it was hard not to move a little to the music, which was met with some excitement from the young girls.

"Then, unexpectedly, one of them started to dance and soon enough a dance party broke out in the basement with more girls taking to the dance floor, clapping to the music as one by one they took turns to dance.

"The boys stayed upstairs, eating their breakfast clearly ignoring us (which was a good thing!) Some of the women have not danced since the Taliban took over.

"It was such a powerful moment and one which will stay with me forever I can't describe it a perfect moment."

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