August 2nd: Empowering Afghan Women and Girls under Taliban Rule
Securing funding and implementing programs in Afghanistan has been very challenging since the Taliban took over the government in August 2021.
Speaker Pam Wasson will share how Nutrition and Education International, a Pasadena, CA-based NGO that works exclusively in Afghanistan, is adapting to this complex new environment. The presentation will focus on programs designed to empower Afghan women and girls.
Program Chair: Pat Force
Meeting Location: Willamette Heritage Center Dye Room
Transforming Lives Around the World
Early on a Sunday morning in December, 2001, I was seated in a boarding area, waiting for my flight out of Logan International Airport in Boston. Coffee in hand, I was making my way through the Sunday New York Times, anticipating my return to Portland after a 10-day consulting project. Deep into an article about a country that was on everyone’s mind that winter, a statistic emerged from the page and landed in my soul with a thud: “A woman dies in childbirth in Afghanistan every 15 minutes.”
Wait, what? How could that possibly be? This was 2001. At the time we had incredibly advanced medicine. What was going on in that country that produced such risk and misery in the lives of women? The answer to that question and many more infiltrated the hearts and minds of millions of people over the next several years. Painfully.
There are no easy answers when tyranny and power prevent women from freedom, preclude their education, and threaten their very existence. Many of us were terrified at the thought of what would happen to women following the US pullout in August of 2021.
This week’s program, presented by our own Pam Wasson, will shine a light on the current status of girls and women in that country. I am proud of our Program Committee for bringing this forward. The thing about Rotarians is that there is strength in numbers, and 1.4 million of us bravely stare down the pain throughout the world and find ways to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who are oppressed. Come join your fellow Rotarians this week and be inspired.
I appreciate each and every one of you.
In Rotary Service,
President Alison Kelley
Rotary Club of Salem