Anita Haidary, A role model, a change-maker and a leader:

By Zuhra Abhar

Anita, a young Afghan college student, is the co-founder and the Executive Director of Young Women for Change www.youngwomenforchange.org

Anita says: “I am proud of being an active voice of young women and men in society who believe in change.”

Anita grew up in an open-minded family: her parents played an important role in getting Anita and her four sisters and one brother an education. During the war in 1997, Anita and her family fled to Pakistan. In 2002, Anita and her family returned to Afghanistan with hope for a better future.

As a young girl, Anita always hoped that one day the voice of Afghan women could be heard and they would have equality and rights. Anita is a leader and a role model for other young Afghan women. In 2008, she graduated from high school and went to American University Central Asia. After six months of hard work and dedication, she was accepted and received a four-year scholarship at Mount Holyoke College. Currently, Anita is in her third year of college. Her passion and dedication encouraged her to become a voice of women in Afghanistan.

Anita reflects that: “I always spoke about inequalities as a school student. I started thinking about the fact that others did not talk about this. I didn’t like to be called white cloth and vulnerable just because I am a girl – I thought that I am strong. After I returned back to Afghanistan from Pakistan, I stood against what my teacher was saying in class, that ‘women are like white cloth – a single stain will destroy the cloth and it will never fixed.’ I didn’t agree to be that vulnerable and to be ashamed of every part of me that made me a woman.”

Anita established Young Women for Change (YWC), a place where women can come and talk about their issues. YWC promotes women’s rights and is a voice against women violence. Anita states: “YWC works with all members of society and finds solution from within society.”

Young Women for Change (YWC) – Helping and improving the lives of women in Afghanistan

Anita talks about YWC and its work on this video:

Anita and her team built the first Women’s Internet Café in Kabul, where women can get together and share ideas, learn skills, and express their feelings without fear.

As a change-maker, Anita believes, as she puts it, “in speaking up against things that are not fair or equal. In Afghan society, women are not allowed to express their ideas or feelings. One of the qualities of a ‘good girl’ is to not speak and to say yes to everything.”

Anita says: “I am proud of being an active voice of young women and men in society who believe in change.”

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