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 end.'

'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.

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.

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1957 - 1987

Born in 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. 

Meena also 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.

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