AIWR News, Fall/Winter 2015


Fall/Winter 2015

Happy Tenth Anniversary to AIWR!

This summer and fall, AIWR is proudly celebrating its tenth anniversary. In 2005, AIWR launched its first long-distance English and mentoring programs in Mongolia. AIWR expanded to Kazakhstan in early 2006, and then to Afghanistan in late 2006. After experiencing first-hand both the great level of need in Afghanistan and the strong interest in its programs, in 2008 AIWR decided to focus its primary energy and resources in Afghanistan for the next several years. Thanks to the wonderful cooperation from our Afghan partner organizations, AIWR’s Afghanistan programs have flourished. Although AIWR’s primary focus will remain in Afghanistan, this year AIWR once again began to expand to other countries, beginning with its new pilot project in Nepal.

Since 2005, AIWR has served over 300 women and girls. AIWR has also grown from a staff of one to eight dedicated volunteer staff, who oversee and assist up to 90 participants (volunteer teachers, mentors, students and mentees). AIWR’s growth and success these last ten years are due to the dedication and hard work of its volunteer staff, as well as to the tireless efforts of all the volunteer teachers and mentors who are the backbone of AIWR. To all of you, a huge congratulations on this tenth anniversary, and an even bigger THANK YOU!

AIWR's First-Ever Staff Retreat

In November, six of AIWR’s staff traveled to Cooperstown, New York to gather for AIWR’s first-ever team retreat, with a seventh staff member in Seattle joining by Skype. AIWR’s team traveled from all over North America, including California, Colorado, Missouri, upstate New York, and Ontario, Canada. During the productive weekend retreat, AIWR staff worked hard to devise ways to improve its current programs and to plan for its future growth. Thank you to the Landmark Inn and to all of our special donors who made the retreat possible.

AIWR Staff
AIWR team on the steps of the Landmark Inn 
AIWR staff working hard at the retreat

Celebrating Successes

What better way to celebrate the holiday season and the end of the year than to share some success stories from AIWR’s English and Mentor Programs.

AIWR’s Mentor Program – So Much To Celebrate

With 35 current participants (Mentors and Mentees), the Mentor Program experienced tremendous growth this year thanks to the outreach work of our mentees and to the dedication and hard work of AIWR’s Mentor Program Director, Gayle Zilber. This summer we matched women law faculty from law schools across Afghanistan with women law professor mentors in the United States, expanded from our long-standing partner organization in Afghanistan (Justice for All) to several new ones (including UN Women, Oxfam, and the Max Planck legal organization HBORL), and started providing financial mentoring for finance executives as well as English medical terminology mentoring for a woman doctor. Three of our mentees this year were accepted to LL.M. programs in Germany and the United States, obtaining fellowships to enhance their legal education. Our legal mentees, with the support and coaching of their mentors, have won important concessions such as the right for victims of domestic violence to be released from shelters for battered women and established independently in their own apartments (rather than the traditional requirement of having to be "submitted" to their, often abusive, families). Our mentees have advocated for women's rights in current government efforts to move away from the court systems to more traditional dispute resolution methods (which all too often ignore those rights for women contained in the country's civil code), and worked with the country's Supreme Court to ensure justice is done in the Farkhunda case. Our partner organizations continue to provide educational manuals and legal training on women's rights, and recently succeeded in increasing the enrollment of young women in schools and universities in the North of the country, enabling over a thousand women to attend university in a province where previously there had been no such opportunity. Congratulations to Gayle and all the Mentors and Mentees on these great successes!

AIWR’s English Program – A Shining Example

Although AIWR’s English Program is rich with many dedicated students and teachers who are accomplishing great things, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight one particularly inspiring student, Nargis. Nargis first joined AIWR’s English Program over seven years ago as a student at the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS), before moving into the role of a student coordinator for the AIWR English Program at KIMS. This summer, Nargis was awarded a scholarship to attend American University in Kabul. Here is Nargis’s story in her own words:

I dedicated my life to learning English when I was 8 years old in my Dad’s institutes. He has been working for educating Afghan women since 2002 but I started learning English seriously in 2007 at the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS) which was established by my Dad. Later I heard about the AIWR English Program that was being offered at KIMS. Soon I got a chance to join the program and have had several AIWR teachers. They didn’t only help me with my studies but taught me the true meaning of friendship, love and peace through education. Being a coordinator with AIWR and interacting with great people from diverse environments in educating Afghan girls via Skype had a significant role in building my international understanding. In addition, the work experience and being as a student, studying online via Skype with my foreigner teachers strengthened my skills, such as listening, speaking and writing which helped me a lot in making my way easily through a scholarship to American University. Though it is not a piece of cake for anyone in Afghanistan, it helps if you have great English skills. It didn’t only make my dreams come true but there are many other students as examples who met their desires through the education from AIWR.


This Holiday Season, Don’t Forget To Support AIWR through AmazonSmile, iMyne, and Crowdrise!

This Holiday Season, Don’t Forget To Support AIWR through AmazonSmile, iMyne, and Crowdrise! Every time you shop online, you can help AIWR raise funds, at no cost to you, by using iMyne and AmazonSmile. Using iMyne is extremely simple, and not only does it not cost a penny, it saves you money! Sign up at and shop as you normally would with hundreds of your favorite retailers.  Each purchase you make earns cash back for you and automatic donations for AIWR…all without an additional penny out of your pocket!   

Also, if you use Amazon, remember to sign up for AmazonSmile and choose the Alliance for International Women’s Rights as your charity.  When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection, and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. Please sign up today and select Alliance for International Women’s Rights as your charitable organization:

Finally, there's still time to make a 2015 tax-deductible donation. Please visit AIWR’s campaign at Crowdrise, an online fundraising platform: or our website: to make a contribution.

Every donation, no matter what size, is deeply appreciated!


Contact Us

Alliance for International Women’s Rights
P.O. Box 165
East Chatham, NY 12060
Executive Director:
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