Their desire for education is palpable. The support from parents -- mothers and fathers --to educate their daughters is real. And the learning that is happening? That is the greatest hope for the future of all.
I know I'm supposed to forgive my trespassers. But when called upon to actually forgive, I may be good at "letting go" and "moving on" but does anyone's name ever leave that ledger inside my mind, the one that keeps track of those who have hurt me?
On Saturday, lawmakers in Afghanistan's parliament refused to vote on the Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Yet, read any of the poems or stories on the Afghan Women's Writing Project website, and you will be filled with hope.
Around the first anniversary of 9/11, the U.S. media portrayed Afghan women as traumatized, sad, helpless-looking victims. As a photographer who had lived in the Middle East, I saw that I could provide a more complete picture of their lives.
"It takes courage to pick up a soccer ball and play despite the possibility of threats or harm to themselves or their families. They have done just that and they stand together and support each other to be able to play."
What enables women to be so good at connecting across barriers? And with Forbes dubbing entrepreneurship "the new women's movement," what exactly is the link between connecting well and female entrepreneurship?
From the outset, we faced an array of basic challenges. We had to figure out how to operate effectively in a gender-segregated, highly tribal, rural society with each village governed by its own complex mix of religious, legal, and local mores.
I've learned that people everywhere want the same things for their children -- food on the table, good health, a safe environment, an education, good economic prospects, happiness, a better future than that of their parents, and peace.
The Afghan government depends almost entirely on foreign aid and I think it is time to say "if you want the money, you must show how you are protecting women's rights."The global public needs to ensure donor governments make that happen.
As the debates unfold over whether or not an international mediator might be required to support the Afghan peace talks, many in and out of Afghanistan have considered whether the UN might serve in this capacity.