Canadians taking action, in partnership with Afghan women, toward improving conditions of human rights, ending women’s oppression, and providing opportunities for Afghan women to live their lives with dignity, certainty and purpose.”
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) is a charity and not-for-profit organization. Since our founding in 1998, CW4WAfghan has
- trained more than 10,000 teachers,
- provided literacy classes for nearly 5,000 students,
- distributed nearly 300 school library starter kits,
- established 40 community libraries and 262 science labs, and
- shared thousands of resources through our Darakht-e Danesh Digital Library.
This progress is measurable and powerful in the fight for gender equality. Yet, all these gains were suddenly put at risk when the Taliban re-took power in Afghanistan and resumed ruling the country through an armed take-over on August 15, 2021. Fear and panic descended over the country as millions attempted, and are still attempting, to flee. Afghanistan now faces not only a crisis of governance and human rights, but also the possibility of economic collapse, a humanitarian emergency and state failure. Our response to these events is to doubledown our efforts and affirm our commitment to women and girls. We continue to support women and girls both within Afghanistan, as well as those who wish to leave due to fears of persecution. As many Afghan women insist in protests that have been held across Afghanistan since mid-August, they will “never go back.” We will be there with them to prevent a reversal of their rights and freedoms.
Our main program areas include: (1) Investments in Basic Education; (2) Community Libraries, Literacy and Books; (3) Technology for Education; (4) Public Engagement and (5) Afghanistan Policy Dialogue.
What We Do
In Canada, CW4WAfghan has almost 4,000 supporters who raise awareness and funds to support our programs. Volunteers plan and host events, lead chapter meetings, and organize public outreach and advocacy activities.
In Afghanistan, our team of Afghan professionals manage, implement, monitor and provide support services for CW4WAfghan’s programs and operations. CW4WAfghan has successfully supported and implemented hundreds of education projects for two decades, with proven project management systems and accountability measures in place.
Over the years, the evidence emerged that education was the most strategically important area in which we could invest, where funds raised could travel the furthest and leave an impact in present and future generations.
Access to quality education, from adult literacy classes to having trained teachers in public schools, contributes to every other social, economic, and political development objective of Afghanistan.
Education is a basic, universal human right. We believe that a literate population with access to viable education and economic opportunities will be Afghanistan’s greatest stabilizing force and its best hope for a lasting peace.
Protecting Positive Change
Access to education for women and girls in Afghanistan improved significantly since the end of Taliban rule in 2001, and together with the tireless efforts of activists and educators in Afghanistan, CW4WAfghan is proud to have been a part of that success story. The total number of girls enrolled in schools across Afghanistan went from only 9,000 in 1999, to more than 2.4 million girls by 2021. Societal norms and values changed alongside these statistics; today, the majority of Afghans (87%), support the goal of gender equality in educational access and see barriers to education as the biggest challenge for women’s rights.
Canadians taking action, in partnership with Afghan women, towards improving conditions of human rights, ending women’s oppression, and providing opportunities for Afghan women to live their lives with dignity, certainty and purpose.
Individuals as global citizens value working in solidarity with integrity of purpose and action to affect positive change in the world through education and the promotion of social justice and human rights.
As outlined in our Constitution, the purpose of CW4WAfghan is to alleviate conditions of poverty in Afghanistan through programs that advance education opportunities for women in Afghanistan and their families; and to educate and increase the understanding of Canadians about human rights in Afghanistan.
To ensure effective long-term sustainable education programs for Afghan women and their families and to engage Canadians as global citizens.
CW4WAfghan is a non-religious, non-political, federally registered charity in Canada (Canada Revenue Agency #887718203RR0001).
Below we list some of the recognition CW4WAfghan volunteers, supporters and staff have received in recent years.
- Presidential Citation from the American Library Association (ALA)for Innovative International Library Project awared to the Darakht-e Danesh Library, a CW4WAfghan project (2018)
- Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross awarded to co-founders Janice Eisenhauer and Carolyn Reicher
- Best Practice in Literacy Award of the Library of Congress awarded to Afghanistan Lowalee / Afghanistan Reads, a CW4WAfghan adult literacy program in Afghanistan (2017)
- Alberta Order of Excellence awarded to Janice Eisenhauer (2015).
- Paul Harris Fellow Award from Rotary Club awarded to current Executive Director, Dr. Lauryn Oates, in 2015. The Award acknowledges ‘service above self’ to one’s community, nation or the world.
- YMCA Kingston Peace Award to Kingston chapter chair and CW4WAfghan Past President, Madeliene Tarasick. This award recognizes local residents who “demonstrate a commitment to building peace within their community or communities elsewhere in the world” (2015)
- Rotary Peace Fellowship Award to Susan Hartley of CW4WAfghan Atlantic Chapter and former board member (2015)
- Mark DeWolfe Social Action Award from the Unitarian Congregation, Mississauga awarded to Barb Wood of Canadians in Support of Afghan Women (CSAW) / CW4WAfghan Chapter in Oakville (2014)
- City of Calgary Signature Award to Janice Eisenhauer (2013)
- Alumni Leadership Award from Royal Roads University to Lauryn Oates (2013)
- Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Province of British Columbia for community service to Lauryn Oates (2013)
- Lewis Perinbam Award for Volunteerism in International Development awarded by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) to Janice Eisenhauer (2013)
- International Award at the Town of Oakville Community Spirit Awards celebration Oakville awarded to Canadians in Support of Afghan Women (CSAW) / CW4WAfghan Chapter in Oakville (2010)
- Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person Case awarded to Bev LeFrancois, CSAW co-founding member and founder of Women of Halton Action Movement (WHAM) for her vision and leadership (2009)
- Making A Difference for Women Award from Soroptimist International Calgary to Janice Eisenhauer f (2007)
- Integrity Award from Rotary Calgary to Janice Eisenhauer (2007)
- Global Television Woman of Vision Award to Carolyn Reicher, CW4WAfghan co-founding member and past President, for her work with human rights and Afghan women (2006)
- Humanitarian Award from the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) awarded to Linda Middaugh, co-founding member of CSAW (Oakville), who was also featured in ETFO’s Women’s History Month poster produced in collaboration with the Women’s Future Fund (2006)
- Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal awarded to
- Linda Middaugh, co-founding member of CSAW (2006)
- Bev LeFrancois, co-founding member of CSAW (2006)
- Janice Eisenahuer (2005)
- Alberta Centennial Medal awarded to Janice Eisenhauer in recognition of her outstanding service to the people and province of Alberta (2005)
- YMCA Calgary Peace Award in the International category for Calgary CW4WAfghan members for their long-standing contribution to supporting peace and human rights for Afghan women and their families (2002)
- Canada Women of Influence initiative from National Post & L’Oreal recognized by Janice Eisenhauer, Lauryn Oates and Bev LeFrancois, CSAW co-founding member (2001)
- Women of the Year recognition of Lauryn Oates in Chatelaine magazine (2000)