Meet the women overcoming adversity in Afghanistan


Afghanistan is still one of the most difficult and dangerous places in the world to be a woman. In rural areas in particular, deep poverty and conservative social attitudes leave many women on the edge of survival.

Frequently denied access to education, business or paid work, rural Afghan women must depend on male relatives for everything. Women who don’t have male family members are left isolated and even destitute. Young girls are forced to marry long before they are ready, just to obtain a ‘bride price’ and help their families survive.

“In my village, women were hardly allowed to go and visit the doctor for treatment. They had no choice in anything. Whatever was chosen for them, they had to accept. We saw girls married at the age of 12, 14 and 15 and even younger than this,” says Mariam, a participant in one of ActionAid Afghanistan’s women’s empowerment groups.

Thanks to donors like you, Mariam and the other members of her women’s group were able to access training in skills like financial literacy, business management and marketing.

The support of generous ActionAid donors like you meant Mariam could realise her lifelong dream and start her own business. Mariam is now a successful shop owner, sharing her new skills with other women.

Your gifts are helping change not just lives, but whole communities. Successful women like Mariam can now take their place as village leaders alongside men. With business ownership comes newfound respect.

Women like Mariam, once ignored, now have a voice in decision making both in their families and communities. Mariam and the other women you have supported use their newfound confidence to boost women’s rights in everything from education to healthcare and safety.

Thank you so much for supporting women like Mariam to become strong, influential leaders and improve life for women in their communities.


Women around the world are on the frontlines of one of the greatest global health emergencies the world has ever faced. Will you donate today to support ActionAid to scale up our work with women leaders on the frontlines of the response?

Read more from ActionAid’s Autumn Newsletter