News: Zabul DoWA raises awareness during 16 Days event
Story by Senior Airman Patrice Clarke
More than 50 women in Zabul Province attended a conference and workshop advocating against violence toward women at the Director of Women’s Affairs compound in Qalat, Afghanistan on Dec. 3.
The workshop, which was hosted by the Zabul DoWA, Sadiqa Jalali, was part of the international 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence observance held from Nov. 25, International End Violence against Women Day, through Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day.
“This is a very important day for the women of Zabul,” said Jalali. “Violence against women is an important subject for everyone, women and men included. This event is very important for the mothers to give the information to their children and sons. I’m trying to rid this problem from Zabul Province.”
According to the Zabul Director of Education, Rahimullah Lodin, who was a guest speaker at the conference, ridding the problem comes with education through classes and workshops like the 16 Days event.
“These workshops are very important to Zabul Province and to our society because women are able to learn about their rights and responsibilities,” said Lodin. “The women at the conference today can take this information and share that knowledge with other women throughout the province.”
The education director continued that the sharing of information is the most important outcome of these workshops and conferences.
“Our province is still very traditional,” said Lodin. “Men sometimes don’t allow their women to come to these workshops. The women who do attend are able to take the information back to those women who cannot.”
The director of education and the director of women’s affairs work hand-in-hand at the DoWA complex to help the advancement of women in the Zabul Province. The complex offers a lending library with varied reading material, from historical information to health related material.
At the complex, the women have a lot of opportunities to better themselves through classes. There are classes to learn trade, reading, writing, tailoring and health.
“These classes are very beneficial to the women of the province,” said Jalali. “The whole process has two outcomes; it strengthens women and boosts the local economy. These women learn a trade and it gives them a way to help supplement their husband’s income and help provide for the family.”
Lalababy, a widow who has lived in Zabul Province her entire life, was glad to attend the sewing class and the workshop.
“We are fortunate that these classes and workshops are available to us,” she said. “I truly wish we could have many more. During the classes we learn sewing, the alphabet and health. We are fortunate. In the winter months I need medicine. This helps me so I can pay for my medicine by selling what I make (dresses, sewing).”
Lalababy continued that she plans on sharing the information from the 16 Days event with the rest of her family like the DoWA requested.