Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan, help Afghan women, literacy, education

Our projects

SAWA's aim is to assist projects dedicated to the advancement of the rights of Afghanistan's women in all areas, both inside Afghanistan and in the refugee camps in Pakistan. Such projects include orphanages, schools, adult education, health services and income generation for women.

As a small organization with only a short history of fundraising SAWA cannot contribute to all these areas at present. Apart from occasional minor contributions to other activities, SAWA concentrates on the following projects:


Vocational Training Center for Women

Vocational CentreThe Vocational Training Center for Women in Kabul was established in February 2008. It is run by OPAWC, staffed by three literacy teachers and one handicraft trainer and offers free adult literacy classes and handicraft training.

Literacy courses run for 12 months and finish with the issuing of a certificate. Handicraft courses run for 3 months, after which time the participants can establish the economic base to support a family. The centre has the capacity to accommodate 90 literacy students and 10 handicraft trainees..

SAWA supports the literacy courses of the centre by funding the salaries of the teachers, the housekeeper and the security watchman, the rent, electricity and gas for the building and some textbooks and other material. The handicraft section of the centre is supported by an Italian NGO.

Full details about the centre and SAWA's support are available here.


Hamoon Clinic

hamoonHamoon Clinic, or Hamoon Health Center as it is known to the people of Farah, was established in 2003 by Malalai Joya, the famous human rights campaigner and political activist who the people of Farah Province had elected into Afghanistan's Parliament in 2005. When she was dismissed in 2007 for publicly denouncing the presence of war criminals in the Parliament, Hamoon Clinic began to suffer from violent attacks; to avoid further escalation Malalai handed the clinic over to OPAWC, who has been operating it ever since.

Hamoon Clinic provides free treatment and medicine to people who otherwise would go without. In 2014 SAWA (SA) provided it with an ambulance to access outlying and remote villages where serious cases often prevent patients from traveling to the city.

Full details about the clinic and SAWA's support are available here.


Student sponsorships

studentsMore than half the population of Afghanistan is under 18 years of age. Giving the younger generation the opportunity to gain an education that leads to responsible positions in society is the best way to help Afghanistan out of its desperate situation. It is also most satisfying, as it offers the opportunity to watch a young person grow in stature and self-confidence and share a path into adulthood.

AFCECO has educated girls and boys in its orphanages since 2004. Several have now finished high school and enter the university to take up studies of law, medicine, education or engineering. All come from poor families who could have never afforded to send them to school, not to mention university.

Sponsoring a student from one of AFCECO's orphanages brings many rewards. The personal relationships with a sponsored student brings joy and a sense of certainty that one truly makes a difference in a life. Sharing letters and photos brings sponsors and their students closer and closer over time; sponsors can see them learn, grow, and change as the years pass and share their own life and family with them.

If you want to sponsor a student go to the student scholarship page for details.


Support for Widows in Kabul

beggarThree decades of war left many thousands of widows begging in the streets. Undoubtedly, widows are the worst examples of the suffering Afghan women. Kabul city alone has more than 50,000 widows. In addition to the common oppressions that other women suffer, widows are to face extra miseries. They have to feed their children, look after their daughters to remain safe from being kidnapped and … Most widows are illiterate with no skill and experience of working, they therefore find it hard to obtain jobs and have a reliable income. This has forced most of these widows to either go for begging or prostitution.

This project was developed to help a small number of widows to learn some basics skills in making handicrafts and then provide them with tools and materials to sell their product on the market. It is now part of the Vocational Training Center.


Birthing kits for rural Afghanistan

kitsIn the villages of Afghanistan going through childbirth can be a life-threatening experience. Many men do not allow routine medical examinations by male doctors to monitor pregnancies. There are few women doctors, and low standards of hygiene pose a serious threat; in Afghanistan a woman dies during childbirth every 28 minutes.

The Adelaide Hills Club of ZONTA International has developed a birthing kit that consists of a 1m x 1m plastic sheet for the mother to lie on, a piece of soap, two rubber gloves, three gauze squares, three cord ties, two plastic clamps and a sterile scalpel blade, all contained in a small press-sealed plastic bag. The total cost is one dollar, enough to save one woman's life through clean conditions during childbirth.

SAWA occasionally organizes the delivery of ZONTA birthing kits to RAWA. Its mobile health teams who visit villages make a list of pregnant women in every family and deliver the kits on their next visit or direct the families to centers where they can get one. Thousands of kits have been delivered in 2007, 2008 and the first half of 2009, and thousands more will be delivered in the future.

Reports on birthing kit packing and delivery into rural Afghanistan with photos were published in SAWAN 17 (February 2008), SAWAN 21 (February 2009), SAWAN 22 (May 2009) and SAWAN 34 (February 2012).


Hewad High School (project no longer active)

This project was supported by SAWA (NSW). It is included here for general information.

Hewad High SchoolHewad High School is located in Rawalpindi, a city in Pakistan with a high Afghan refugee population. It is a primary and secondary school for girls and covers years 1 - 12. Hewad is Pashto for Fatherland.

Hewad High School was one of eight RAWA schools that were established in Rawalpindi when RAWA received large support from the international community after the 11th of September attack on the Worl Trade Centre towers. This support faded quickly, and most schools had to be closed again within two years. Hewad High School was the only RAWA school still operating in Rawalpindi in 2016, when the school was closed.

SAWA (NSW) shared the support of Hewad High School with the Friends of RAWA (Japan).


Malalai Clinic (project no longer active)

Malalai HospitalThe original Malalai Hospital was founded in 1986 in Quetta, Pakistan, and operated until 2005. When funds to run the hospital dried up it was relocated to Khewa refugee camp near Peshawar as the much smaller Malalai Clinic, which operated three days of the week.

In 2007 Pakistan's government announced the closure of all Afghan refugee camps and with it the closure of Malalai Clinic. Khewa camp was closed in October 2007. Malalai Clinic was moved to a location inside Afghanistan.

SAWA supplied pharmaceuticals to the clinic through the services of OPAL (Overseas Pharmaceutical Aid for Life) and had hoped to be able to continue this service when Malalai Clinic is re-established inside Afghanistan. Unfortunately OPAL lost government funding and was wound down in August 2007. As a result SAWA lost its source of free pharmaceuticals and can no longer offer support to Malalai Clinic.


Nasima Shaheed High School (project no longer active)

Naseema ShaheedNaseema Shaheed High School was located in Khewa refugee camp near Peshawar, the city close to Afghanistan's border with the highest Afghan refugee population in Pakistan. It was a primary and secondary school for girls and covered years 1 - 12. It was named after a young woman who received her basic literary education in one of RAWA's first schools and was killed during the Soviet occupation.

During 2006 and 2007 SAWA funded the entire school budget including salaries for all teachers and staff, education material for its 367 students, and the basic running costs of the school. In 2007 Pakistan's government announced the closure of all Afghan refugee camps, and Nasima Shaheed High School had to close its doors. SAWA then transferred its school support to Hewad High School in Rawalpindi.