Revolutionary Association of
Women of Afghanistan - (RAWA)
Founded in 1977 by Meena Kishwarkamel, a 20 year old Afghan activist
student. Ten years later, in 1987, she was assassinated.
Some RAWA statements follow:
RAWA is the only independent organisation which has been courageously advocating and
striving for the attainment of the human rights of Afghan women. Successive unpopular and
anti-democratic governments seizing power one after another over the past many decades
have never been at a lack for pretexts, ranging from reaction to tradition and from culture to religion, for violating
human rights. Because of RAWA's uncompromising and resolute anti-obscurantist stand, the
fundamentalists are terrified of it. They are bent upon curbing our activities and
crushing our organisation.'
'As Afghanistan finds itself strangled in the grip of religious fundamentalism of all
shades, human rights of the entire nation are being grossly violated. The nature and range
of crimes perpetrated against Afghan women by fundamentalists has no precedence in modern
history. Afghan fundamentalists treat women as degraded souls whose only function is to
satiate men's lust and reproduce! Had we faced some civilised opponents, we might have
convinced them of our rights by logic and words of reason. But as fundamentalists go on
rampage in Afghanistan, RAWA holds that our women will never be able to achieve their
rights through the 'kindness' of the fundamentalists. To attain meaningful emancipation,
our women must continue their hard, long struggle against fanaticism and carry it to the
'Our concept of a government in Afghanistan is very simple: it should be based on
democratic values and it should ensure freedom of thought, religion and expression and
safeguard women's rights.'
'Women are more than 50 per cent of the Afghan population and denying them their role in
the development of Afghanistan would retard the process. The oppressive policies of
Taliban would block the progress of Afghanistan which has yet to see peace and harmony.'
RAWA has always raised its voice against successive regimes in Afghanistan which have
violated basic human rights. But RAWA has also been providing help to Afghan refugees. In
1986 it set up a hospital and in 1987 founded two schools for Afghan refugee children. To
enable refugee women earn a living, RAWA set up a workplace where the women are taught tailoring, embroidery and other
skills. Financial constraints have brought these ventures to the point of closure.
RAWA raises its funds from membership fees and supporters donations. Some funds are
generated from the sale of traditional handicrafts and carpets. However it finds
increasing difficulty in generating sufficient funds to support its campaigning
activities. It has not been able to publish its journal on a regular basis. With more
money it could increase the intensity and impact of Afghan women's activism against
fundamentalism and support for democracy.
SUPPORT FOR RAWA
In recognition of the inspired and inspiring founder of the Revolutionary
Association of Women of Afghanistan and the bravery of its members WomenAid
is financially supporting the publications and other activities of RAWA. We urge you to give
your financial support, help and commitment to the fight for women's rights and
democracy in Afghanistan.
1957 - 1987
Kabul in 1957, Meena became a social activist to organize and educate women. She founded
the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) in 1977 to give voice to
the deprived and silent women of Afghanistan.
She began a campaign against the Russian
forces and their puppet regime in 1979, organising numerous processions and meetings in
schools and colleges to mobilize public opinion.
She launched Payam-e-Zan (The Message of Woman) in 1980. Through this magazine RAWA has
been projecting the cause of the Afghan women boldly and effectively.
established Watan schools for refugee children, a hospital and handicraft centres for
refugee women in Pakistan to support Afghan women financially.
Her effective advocacy
against the views of the fundamentalists and the puppet regime provoked the wrath of the
Russians and fundamentalist forces alike and she was assassinated by KGB agents and their
fundamentalist accomplices in Quetta, Pakistan on February 4, 1987.
of support for