With the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan, powerful voices like Malala Yousafzai are speaking out about their fears for the country's women and girls. Here's how your family can make a difference.
An image of an Afghan woman and child.
Credit: Getty Images.

Following the news that the Taliban was seizing control of Afghanistan, 24-year-old human rights activist Malala Yousafzai spoke out about her concerns. "We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan," she tweeted on August 15. "I am deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates. Global, regional, and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians."

Under Taliban rule prior to 2001, women and girls couldn't attend school, work outside of the home, participate in government, or even obtain medical care. But with help from USAID, student enrollment grew from 900,000 male students in 2001 to more than 9.5 million students—39 percent of them are girls—in 2020. And since 2008, USAID has helped increase access to education for 3 million Afghan girls.

But given the recent turn of events, the international community is left wondering what will happen to Afghan girls and women. Here are eight ways you and your family can support them.

1. Donate to Women for Women International

A nonprofit that provides aid and support to women in war-torn countries, Women for Women International runs a program called Stronger Women, Stronger Nations that's led to more equitable gender attitudes, increased food security for women's families, increased freedom to travel, and more decision-making power in their households. You can make an emergency gift today to provide a lifeline for women in Afghanistan during their time of need by donating here.

2. Give to Women for Afghan Women

Women for Afghan Women (WAW) is a grassroots civil society organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and New York. It provides life-changing services, education, and vocational training across Afghanistan and in the United States. It is "determined to employ every resource" it has "to meet the needs of the emergency currently engulfing Afghanistan and its people." Donate here.

3. Call Your Elected Officials

In her publication, Assembly, Yousafzai encourages people to call on their elected officials to ensure safe passage for civilians from Afghanistan by keeping borders open and providing visas to those people and families under greatest threat, especially women's rights activists. "Tell your leaders to deploy humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and neighbouring countries to meet the needs of all displaced people—particularly the most marginalized populations like girls and women," she writes.

4. Support the Malala Fund

Yousafzai's charity focuses on supporting vulnerable girls who are denied an education. You can donate here.

5. Support Sahar

Sahar's offers technology to girls in Afghanistan through its Digital Literacy Program, trains teachers—especially women—and improves Afghan school capacity. "It is our voices that need to be heard supporting all Afghans, especially the women and girls in Afghanistan," the organization notes on its website. "We urge you to speak up for their protection and show your solidarity." It urges for recurring donations to help plan and provide stability to the schools and girls we support.

6. Donate to an Emergency Fund Set Up by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

Vital Voices, which invests in women leaders in 82 countries around the world is partnering with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security to create a special fund aimed at supporting the evacuation of at-risk women activists, journalists, politicians, peacebuilders, and their families. It is connected to a network of women activists in Afghanistan and plans to give 100 percent of donations directly to its partners to support emergency evacuations, emergency housing and resettlement, visa applications, and other emerging priorities. Donate here.

7. Give to Afghan Aid

AfghanAid is focused on building basic services, improving livelihoods, strengthening the rights of women and children, helping communities protect against natural disasters and climate change, and responding to humanitarian emergencies. It's currently working to help those who have lost their homes and livelihoods across the region. Donate here.

8. Support Save the Children

The international organization champions the rights of kids around the globe, and in the past year, it reached over 600,000 girls and boys in Afghanistan. Donate here.