Dyana Afghan Women's Fund

About Us

In the summer of 2002 when I was in the city of Kandahar, I had a chance meeting with a former teacher, the late Safia Ama Jan, who became a source of inspiration. She had established a small centre to provide basic literacy and skills training for a group of 34 women, most of them widows in their twenties.Student sewing They spent two hours learning basic reading and writing, followed by a few more hours of work, using the skills they already had in sewing and embroidery. Their handiwork was sold in the local market. The revenue paid for the centre's rent; anything left was then shared equally among the women. I met with these young women and heard their stories. I was impressed with what I saw at the women's centre and wanted to find a way to help, to do something tangible. And I wanted it to be in memory of my late friend, Dyana, who took her own life while living under the rule of the Taliban.

I met with a couple of friends in Canada and we decided it would be best if we established a charity that could provide support to local groups. In my subsequent trips to Afghanistan I realized that this simple model, which was established by Afghan women themselves, could also be effective in other parts of the country.

photo of studentsIn one of my visits to Bamiyan, a group of women gathered around me saying they are 'blind'. Noticing my confusion, they explained that they could see, but couldn't read or write - 'blindness' had become a metaphor for their lack of education.

And so in 2006, the Dyana Afghan Women's Fund first project began.

Everyone involved in DAWF is a volunteer. We want to keep things small and manageable, focusing on one project at a time. Any help in fundraising initiatives, individual contributions, or volunteering is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Nelofer Pazira and the DAWF team

Board of Directors:

Nelofer Pazira (President), Jocelyn Schaffer-Roff (Treasurer), Paul Mackereth (Secretary), Azada Rahi, Tammy Giuliani, Ahmad Tariq Fahimi, Daniel Schwartz