Founder of women’s advocacy group speaks at Hall
The founder of Women for Afghan Women, an advocacy group for Afghan women’s rights, spoke to the University community regarding what her organization does and what problems face Afghan women today.
Sunita Viswanath and her staff have been advocating the advancement of Afghan women in oppressive conditions. WAW is located in Queens, New York, and Afghanistan.
Viswanath addressed what seems to be a movement of change in Afghanistan.
“We all have the power to make change,” Viswanath said. “Each one of us has that power.”
Viswanath informed students of the problems that face Afghan women.
“If there’s no military intervention what happens is that the Taliban may take control,” Viswanath said. “Where does that leave the citizens? We speak of peace, but it’s not that easy. We have to try and get to the ‘how.'”
The organization has a shelter program to assist families that have experienced human rights violations. According to Viswanath, WAW was also able to move 55 children from Kabul prisons into an actual home in November 2009. The children were living in the prison with their mothers who were inmates, according to the WAW website.
According to Viswanath, one of the most important things a person can do is advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan. Speaking about the oppression they face is an important way of helping.
“A woman’s rights are just as good as others in Afghan,” Viswanath said. “They are sacred, and you can’t just take them away.”
Freshman diplomacy major Jillian Winkler said she really enjoyed the event.
“I came mostly because I really found this interesting,” Winkler said. “Plus it’s part of my future in human rights and working in the Middle East. It’s touching hearing the stories and putting all this out there and letting everyone know.”
Britney Harris, who helped organize the event, hopes to start a WAW chapter at Seton Hall.
“It’s just in the planning stages, but once we get things started it’ll be great,” Harris said.
Harris said before the war in Afghanistan, she was unaware of the struggles women in Afghanistan face. Through a WAW chapter at the Hall, Harris hopes to raise awareness among students here.
Fadesola Ojeikere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.