Afghan women’s organization founder brings advocacy to Hall

Sunita Viswanath, founder of Women for Afghan Women, will be speaking at 6 p.m. on Feb. 3 in Jubilee Hall to discuss the current status of women in Afghanistan.

WAW serves as an outreach program and shelter for Afghan women to teach them vital life skills and to educate them about their rights.

The event, which is being sponsored by the Women’s Studies program at Seton Hall University, will raise awareness for Afghan women and provide a simple way for everyone to help them.

Mie-Na Srein, research assistant for the Institute for the Advancement of Teaching, Learning & Leading in International Schools, said that the biggest hope for the event is to draw a big crowd.

“This will be an incredible learning opportunity for each one of us,” Srein said. “It gives us a chance to ‘do something.'”

Viswanath will also tell the story of Bibi Aisha, the young woman who was severely mutilated in Afghanistan by her Taliban husband. Aisha was given to her Taliban husband when she was twelve-years-old.

Aisha’s ears and nose were cut off by her husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law after she tried to flee her marriage in 2009.

So far, only her father-in-law, Suliman, has been caught and arrested in relation to her case. Suliman has confessed to holding a gun to Aisha’s head while her face was mutilated.

Afghani officials are still searching for Aisha’s husband and brother-in-law.

WAW has helped Aisha throughout the long process of reconstructive surgery and is currently housing her at their Queens, NY shelter.

“A lot of times, we are reading about these terrible issues in Afghanistan, self-immolation, domestic violence, lack of education and choices, especially for women and girls,” Srein said. “Often it touches us but we are left wondering what we can even do to help these vulnerable populations.”

A fundraiser will be launched on the day of the event and will end on March 8, International Women’s Day, in efforts to provide the community with an easy way to help Afghan women who are living in oppressive conditions.

Srein said that she hopes “the event will inspire students to utilize their creativity, drive and energy to participate in this fun, easy fundraiser.”

The event has been announced to the Seton Hall Community, South Orange and Maplewood. The Gender/Women’s Studies department at Rutgers University has also been invited to the event.

Ashley Duvall can be reached at ashley.duvall@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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