Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, WomenAid has been providing assistance to some of the poorest new republics during the period of economic and social transition.

KYRGYZSTAN

In Kyrgyzstan health and social services have been seriously affected by the economic crisis which has led to dramatic deterioration in the nutritional status of vulnerable groups.

European Community Humanitarian Office funding of 1.6 million ECU has enabled WomenAid to provide 2500 tonnes of emergency food assistance to 86,000 poor pregnant women. 'Baby kits' containing essential items for the care if a new born baby were given to 20,000 of the poorest mothers in the country.

Maternity hospitals struggling to provide basic services have also received desperately needed vital supplies.

" If I have any regret, it is that I did not emphasise sufficiently the difficulty which parents face. I saw my task to be the advocate of the child. But I believe now there is another important task - to be the advocate of the mother."

Bruno Bettleheim, 
after a lifetime working for disadvantaged children.

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" I am very thankful and glad that we have such an organisation as WomenAid International. I will never forget your help. I wish health to all of you."

Kyrgyzstan mother Natalya Ulanova

 

 

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"We would like to thank you for your invaluable contribution to the women of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan at the time of hardships."

Chief Doctor, G Sharshekunova, parents and staff, Children's Polyclinic, No.4, Bishkek

AFGHANISTAN

In Afghanistan virtually everyone is a victim. The country has been ravaged by war for almost twenty years and over one million have lost their lives. At one point there were over 6 million refugees - currently there are approximately 2.7 million refugees, and an unknown number of internally displaced people in Afghanistan.

 

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Since the Taliban regime took control of most of Afghanistan, basic human rights of girls and women have been denied. They are not allowed to work - even widows - or attend school or university. They cannot leave home unaccompanied and are denied even the right to speak in public. They are forced to wear the burqa- a garment which covers the entire body. They are living shadows deprived of their right to choose and to lead fulfilling lives.

Their sense of isolation and despair is deepened by their belief that the world is unaware of their plight. There has been a dramatic increase in suicides.

  • Women are no longer allowed to work

  • Schools for girls have been shut down

  • A ten year old girl has her fingers amputated for wearing nail polish

  • Women may only leave their houses if wearing the chadri

The Taliban denial of their basic human rights is one of the most flagrant abuses of human rights in any country.  In 1998 the European Parliament called upon the international community to take action in support of Afghan women.  In response WomenAid launched Living Shadows,- a Solidarity Campaign for the Women of Afghanistan.

Support is being given to Afghan women activists and the
Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, RAWA.

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