Farkhunda Trust First Annual Lecture

The Farkhunda Trust held its First Annual Lecture at the House of Commons on November 23rd.

Speakers included Rahela Sidiqi (Women’s Higher Education & The Farkhanda Trust); Christine Chinkin (Women’s Education and Security); Baroness Frances D’Souza ( Why We Must Continue Our Work in Afghanistan; HE The Ambassador of Afghanistan to the UK, Said Tayeb Jawad ( Women’s Education and Security in Afghanistan ); Qari Zemarai Babrak ( Why to support Farkhunda Trust ).

The event was opened by Samantha Knights and closed by Interim Chair of the Farkhunda Trust, Kamini Paul.

                                                       

Statistics of Women higher education

  • In 2002, right after the Taliban fell, there were only 1,564 female students in universities. 
  • In 2016 out of 53,385 students enrolment at state universities only 11,853 or 22% were female. 
  • In total today, there are about 64000 or 21% young women attending university and only 14% of all faculty members are women. 
  • This shows great progress but we still have a long way to go to even get to where we were in 1990. Before the Taliban came, 40 percent of those in higher education were women, and 70 present of all teachers were women. 
  • The increase number of female student between 2014 and 2016 were 18.6% 

General statistics on Women Status and Employment 

  • 580 scholarships for graduate and undergraduate inside and outside Afghanistan and in Asian countries 
  • There are 35% women have master degree and 1.4% PHD
  • Total number of university students by 2016 was 300,344 students out of which state university students were 171, 609 with 36,362 female students – 21% and 135,247 male students -79%. But female higher education some times is overly reported.
  • Private university students were 128,735 students out of which 27,612 – 21% female’s students and 101,125 male students and 79%.
  • There are 601 faculty 222 state faculty and 378 private faculty in total and 145 Universities 36 state universities and 109 private universities
  • 5% of primary female students complete higher education and in 2014 90% of women were illiterate.
  • 22% of civil servants are female, 2% in security forces, 8% in justice, 27% in lower house and 19% in upper house. 2 women in cabin. 9 Deputy Minister and 4 female Ambassadors.
  • 78 % women face one type of violence and 50% get married at age of 15

 

Budget used for Education

In 2011, 2% of on budget used for education

Afghanistan Population in 2015 and issues

  • 6 million 14 million women and 20 million live in rural area. 8.6 million live in urban area.
  • Life expectancy is 44 years
  • Child mortality is 154/1000. More then 11 million live with less than $1.24 per day.

Recourses Issues:

Not enough funds to increase female faculties, 100 girls are in same class. Insecurity, lack of electricity, no enough hostel for female students, No guest lecture and lack of financial resources to enable women to use transport and get food. Education quality is poor. 50% of lecturers are bachelors and use mainly old teaching methods. Inadequate autonomy for higher institution. Demand and supply challenges, due to poor education quality. No adequate sanitary for female students in university campus. 2016 survey indicated that only 37% of population believe equal right for women access to education, 40% of college and university female students have mental health and posttraumatic stress.

Source: www.cso.gov.af, https://preserve.lehigh.edu/, https://centralasiainstitute.org, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org, http://beijing20.unwomen.org/en/about

 

Oxford platform for girls education advocate

 

Farkhunda Trust founder Rahela Sadiqi joined a panel of speakers in Oxford on November 20th to discuss the impact of aid on development in Afghanistan – and the vital importance of education for girls.

At the invitation of the Oxford International Relations Society she joined Dr Michael Ryde and journalist Bahar Joya in a discussion chaired by Professor Sue Doran.

After the main event the audience of students and supporters at St Benet’s Hall, St Giles had an opportunity to meet Ms Sidiqi and learn more about the life changing impact of the Farkhunda Trust which was set up in memory of Farkhunda Malikzada, whose brutal murder on the streets of Kabul in 2015 shocked the world. Its mission is to provide scholarships to women from disadvantaged backgrounds to enable them to pursue higher education and, ultimately, to contribute to shaping a progressive Afghan society.

PICTURE SHOWS: Rahela Sidiqi and Oxford  student Malala Yousafzai.

Extracts from Rahela Sidiqi’s speech follows:  “I believe that if we do things better, and especially pay closer attention to the culture of change towards development – that is the institutional and behaviour  incentives towards change – and alignment with Afghan Government priorities, we will set ourselves on a path towards a self-sufficient Afghanistan that will be a net contributor to peace and security.

Let me explain. Any country that has experienced the levels of destruction and conflict that Afghanistan has needs support. But this support must be defined together with the international community and must be based on the priorities and deep engagement of Afghans themselves.

For far too long, the nature of development has been donor-driven with Afghans in the backseat.

Moreover, the scores of technical assistants provided to the government – while good intentioned – has often leeched capacity rather than built Afghan capacity. I believe that these two factors are key to why we have seen such a weak impact on Afghanistan development strategy despite all the money provided.

Let me give you some figures. For instance, there has been little on-budget aid investment in education, institutional building, and infrastructure development. For example, in 2013, 82% of international aid was used outside Afghanistan system and 70% of aid was used for security force in 2011. While it is important to strengthen security forces, it is not sufficient. Peace and security will come with tangible improvement in people’s lives. And that will not happen if we spend 18% (Social Protection1%, Education 2%, Private sector 2% Health 4%, Agriculture 5%) for the rest of sectors. Today, however, we have a real opportunity to change things and set the course right.”

She reminded the audience that Afghanistan had a Government in place and – in spite of all its challenges –  a reform vision to bring self-sufficiency to the country by 2025.

“Let me quickly state its main five objectives:

  • FIRST, to increase Government ownership in the development, coordination and administration of aid.
  • SECOND, to strengthen economic management through increased development assistant via on budget aid.
  • THIRD, to better coordinate off budget flow from international donors and partners
  • FOURTH, to operationalise the commitment to aid effectiveness within the Tokyo Framework through a process of mutual accountability.
  • FIFTH to increase transparency and accountability with the Afghan Government and development partners.

Reform will take a long time to take root and may spark violence in the interim as vested interests are threatened, but we have another opportunity here that we can leverage. This second opportunity is the new generation of Afghan leaders, who are more educated and connected with more global outlooks than the previous generation who monopolise power.

In this new government,  several hundred young people under the age of 40 have been appointed to positions of power. And many of them are also young women working in the Office of the Presidency and across ministries.   I cannot overstate the importance of this new generation. These young people in government are dynamic, creative, more open to taking risks and trying new ideas, and ready to challenge the corrupt structures that be. But they need our support and commitment.

The third is how the most successful, programs – that have been internationally acclaimed – were the family of National Programs designed and implemented by the Government, with clear rules and responsibilities with funding from development partners, where the Government sets policy, and where NGOs or private sector provides service delivery within clear and fair parameters. These include the National Health Program which resulted from a collaboration between WB, USAID, EU on one clear framework; and the National Solidarity Program now Citizens Charter which I had the privilege to serve on as one of the core founder — which gave block grants to 34,000 villages and where communities themselves managed the grants. The next phase of this program under Citizen Charter is to integrate the village level to ensure the villages can demand and hold accountable the government ministries to provide them basic services.

Critical to increasing young women’s participation in government and  across all sectors of society is the role of higher education. Today, only 25% women succeed to enter to state university but the demand is at least four times more.

What are their challenges in access? Often, it is about accommodation, transport, food, – all of which keeps most young poor women out of schools and often marrying way too young. Many also have to support their families and thus do not have the time or energy to attend school.

We believe that a central reason that Afghanistan is one of the least developed countries is because of the marginalization of half the population – an entire gender. They are critical to development, to building the economy, strengthening their communities and keeping young marginalized boys from bad influences.

Today, we have a new opportunity. A national priority of the National Unity Government is empowering woman to their full potential. For the first time, we have an active first lady who is supporting young women.

And we at Farkhunda Trust are trying our best to do our part. We are a very young organisation and have only been in operation for 1.5 years. We were established   after the brutal killing of Farkhunda Malikzada. But we already have established MoUs with two  universities and are supporting 13 excellent young women from disadvantaged background; women who   without the support of our Trust, would not be able to attend university.

We believe women can be mothers  who  train their  children to use their vision for building Afghanistan and his nation rather hen join extremism. They could be the agent of change to bring moderate Islam and to value the women potential as their equal partner of development process.”

***
Rahela H. Sidiqi is the founder and UK Director of the Farkhunda Trust and is an Afghan women’s rights activist who was determined to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan following the tragic death of Farkhunda Malikzada.

Rahela has over 22 years of experience in managing programs such as emergency relief, conducting and organising management training, provision of policy papers, strategic plans and manuals for relevant project programs for government, the UN and the World Bank. She has founded two charities in Afghanistan and the UK and has provided leadership advice to the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission and other senior level leaders in Afghanistan. She is a reformist and anti-corruption activist at government and civil society levels. She has extensive experience in the area of organisation development participatory training, planning and management, project formulation, and monitoring and evaluation. She has strong experience in team building. She has an extensive background in the area of human rights, women’s rights advocacy, women and youth solidarity and coalition building. She works to build capacity in building partnerships in relation to relevant stakeholders. She works with the private sector, government, and local and international organisations.

 

 

 

From the leafy lanes of Aldworth to the Hindu Kush.

Sixteen years ago, I left Aldworth for Afghanistan on a beautiful spring morning. I had visited the region previously as a young doctor in the Eighties during the Soviet war there and was invited to return to work in a mother and child clinic in the Panjshir Valley, East Afghanistan.

I found a country devastated by 23 years of war, suffering under the grip of the brutal Taliban regime, its infrastructure and spirit utterly destroyed. Even as an optimist I found little hope. However, I grew to love the Afghan people, their extraordinary hospitality and above all their determination, courage and resilience. The visit changed my life and I have devoted the years since then to supporting the country and its young people through the charity I founded, Afghan Connection.

The charity transforms young lives through education and sport and works in some of the most remote and underserved regions of Afghanistan. We have built 46 schools for 75,000 children and renovated more than 70 other schools serving some 110,000 children. Alongside the meteoric rise of the Afghanistan National Cricket Team, with the M.C.C. as partners, we have built 100 cricket pitches in schools and coached 4,500 children and young people with disabilities.

In July this year, on another beautiful Aldworth morning, I set off for Afghanistan, this time with my son Mike, who speaks the local language fluently. We saw schools we have built, met young children in remote areas enjoying an education for the first time and teachers we have trained. The welcome was overwhelming and we were often submerged in a sea of flowers and garlands and rendered immobile by copious amounts of food. We stayed in village houses up in the Hindu Kush and felt deeply privileged to travel with such ease in Afghanistan’s challenging environment. It was my visit to Bakhmal Basi School which stays with me most. This is our current fundraising project and we aim to build a six classroom school for its children in Spring 2018. This is the extract from my blog about visiting the school:

I leave at first light for Bakhmal Basi school, which is some 3-4 hours drive from Taloqan, where we spend the night. Rustaq is an impoverished and underserved district right up in the North of Afghanistan. It is blighted by drought and only 20% of the population has access to water. Maternal and child mortality rates are high. It is a desolate place where, looking at the endless dust and cracked earth utterly parched and devoid of colour, one cannot comprehend how people live and what their lives must endure.

It makes me angry that people still have to live like this, with no access to safe water after so much money has come in to Afghanistan. It is incomprehensible that people in this century endure such hardship and total lack of basic facilities. No water, no clinic, no jobs. Life is a daily test of survival. As we arrive near to Bakhmal Basi village we stop and look at it perched on a hillside of dust surrounded by a sea of grey hills, no green in sight.

All the elders are waiting for me in line and grasp my hand as I walk along their line. The children are there too, with flowers and gifts and all the women of the village are there in their burkas, waiting to speak to me. The school is a series of wooden shelters and torn tents.

The elders sit down and thank me for coming so far to meet them and for supporting their school. There are just two literate adults in this village, the Mullah and a teacher, who was educated elsewhere as a refugee and has now returned. Everyone else is illiterate. 

They sign an agreement to cooperate with the school construction by giving land and labour to build the foundations. They cannot write and so press their thumbs into an ink pad and onto the paper, the illiterate parents signing up for their children to have an education. I ask them why they want their girls and boys to be educated. An old man replies that once he was against education, but now he is near to death after a harsh life and sees it as the one chance for the village children to have a better future. As he speaks, he raises his hand to wipe the tears that are falling down his tired face and we all feel the depth of this emotion.

I have visited so many places in Afghanistan, but never have I witnessed such abject poverty. The women take me into their shelter and remove their burkas. They implore me not to forget them. They thank me for coming so far to help their children when they feel forgotten by the outside world. They tell me how their children have to search for water up to 6 hours a day and they sometimes attack each other in their fight to secure water for their families. One woman tells me how she miscarried her baby whilst carrying heavy loads of water back for her children. They fear childbirth because there is no clinic or medical help nearby.

Afghan Connection has been fortunate to be included in The Big Give Christmas Appeal 2017. We will run the appeal to raise funds for Bakhmal Basi School construction. Anyone who donates online between November 28th and December 3rd will have their donation doubled. If you would like to help, please save the date and see our website in the run up for more details on how to take part www.afghanconnection.org or call 01635578841. To read more of my blog from July www.sarahfane.blogspot.co.uk

“The world is like a bird, with 2 wings”

Twenty-seven-year old  spoken word artist Mathew Dawson, (MDthepoet), wrote this poem because he feels that gender inequality is an issue that needs coverage and discussion. His sentiments are relevant to all people, everywhere, but perhaps they have  particular resonance for Afghan women and Mathew is happy for us to share this poem on their behalf:

 

I am a feminist,

I know a lot of you probably just raised your eye brows, But after I browsed . . . .and searched, for a definition, I realised you lot were tripping,

Because the word Feminist actually means: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes,

Why is that so insane, the thought of us being the same?? I don’t get it?

See I’m here to tell you 2things

One, The world is like a bird, with 2 wings,

Two, One of these wings is men and the other is women, and until these wings are streamlined then society will keep on winging,

How best we nurture our talents, because unless these wings are balanced,

We are gonna fly lopsided, see with one closed eyelid, but if we become united, we’ll fly straight and up towards a better civilization, because putting down one half of our race is not optimisisation, It’s stupid!

See I reached out, to a number of my close female friends, and asked them, I asked

What’s it like, what’s it like to be a women, when you have dreams of pursuing, something society doesn’t believe you should be doing, and I learnt that we are not far from ruin.

Because every single one of them told me that that they feel like they are not judged on their brains and things, like ability, instead they are judged on their looks and their likeability.

We need to change this,

Instead of looking at our women based on their features, we need to look at our women and think how can they feature,

Instead of men killing females in honour killings, we should honour women, these are more than just the mothers of our children,

Instead of countries banning women from the right to drive, we should encourage our women to have courage, ambition and drive,

Instead of banning our women from an education because of their gender, we need to help women become a bigger part of the worlds agenda,

I love that word – Instead, It Carries Hope, Something that’s in men and women both,

SO Instead of me doing nothing, I’m here to fight the cause for our women, they say chivalry is dead, we need to open doors for our women,

This persistent denial of equality to one-half of the worlds population is an insult to human dignity.

It allows for destructive attitudes and the harbouring of misery, misery that transfers to the workplace, family at home and international relations around the globe.

On no grounds, moral, biological, or traditional can inequality be justifiable, the time is now, is undeniable, the time is now to speak up and make a difference, because we’ll never get peace on earth till we make peace with our women

– MD the poet

 

 

Afghan university sees first graduates in women’s studies

 Afghanistan’s first graduates in women’s studies donned caps and gowns on Sunday to collect their unusual qualifications in the patriarchal country.

Kabul University is the country’s first higher education institute to offer a degree focused on gender and women’s issues, according to the United Nations Development Programme and university officials.

Feminist theories, media, civil society and conflict resolution were among the largely women-focused topics covered in the two-year Master’s course, funded by South Korea and run by the UNDP.

Offering such a degree would have been unthinkable during the Taliban’s repressive 1996-2001 Islamist regime, when female issues were taboo and women were largely confined to their homes and banned from education.

While protection of women’s rights has improved since a US-led invasion toppled the Taliban, they remain second-class citizens in the male-dominated country.

Among the 22 graduates were seven men, including Mujtaba Arefi.

“This is the beginning of a change,” Arefi told AFP as he waited to receive his certificate.

“With these programmes we can understand the women’s place and status in our society. There is the possibility that we will reach a level of gender equality like the West.”

Another graduate, Sajia Sediqqi, said she hoped her classmates would use their degrees to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan.

“In a short period of time we cannot bring about any dramatic change, but with our higher education we can help change our society and serve our people, particularly our women.”

(5/11/17)

http://menafn.com/1096041999/about.html

 

With just one breast cancer center, Afghanistan struggles to cope with the disease

 
Struggling with a weak health care system, conflict-ravaged Afghanistan has just one diagnostic center for breast cancer in the entire country — built in Kabul nearly a year ago, Dr. Abdullah Maihan, head of the National Cancer Control Program at the Public Health Ministry, told Arab News.

Breast Cancer is the second major cause of death among Afghan women after childbirth. The latest research on the prevalence of breast cancer in Afghanistan, conducted by World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012, placed the country in the list of nations with highest number of deaths caused by breast cancer.
“With 40 [reported] cases in 100,000, Afghanistan is one of those countries where deaths due to breast cancer is highest in the world,” Maihan said.
“According to WHO estimates of 2012, except for Pakistan, Afghanistan has the highest number of (breast cancer) cases compared to Iran, China, India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan,” he added.

A large number of people from the rural and conservative parts of the country are hesitant to take their female family members to the diagnostic center because the surgeons are mostly men. Many are unaware of the causes of the deadly disease, its symptoms and, more importantly, about the presence of the center.
Abdullah claims that based on WHO’s research estimates, “cancer cases and deaths are on the rise.”
Data from the Health Ministry shows that the three most deadly forms of cancer in Afghanistan during 2013 were stomach cancer, “tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer” and breast cancer, respectively.

Afghanistan imports 90 percent of the much needed medicine from abroad while Afghans spend tens of millions of dollars annually for receiving treatment, including medical procedures for cancer overseas, mostly in India, according to local press reports.
“Women most prone to death caused by breast cancer in Afghanistan are above the age of 80. The disease is least threatening to women between the ages of 15 and 19,” according to the data.
The government’s main tool to fight against the disease is public awareness. First Lady Bibi Gul (known previously as Raula Ghani) recently co-founded the Afghanistan Cancer Foundation in this regard to reflect the Afghan government’s focus on the issue.
The WHO, however, recently warned that the disease may increase twofold in Afghanistan over the next two years, reiterating its commitment to fight against breast cancer, according to the Daily Outlook paper.
“Out of 20,000 cancer patients in Afghanistan, 7,000 of these are breast cancer cases,” the Daily Outlook paper cited Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative in Afghanistan, as saying.
 
By Syed Salahuddin, Tuesday 31 October 2017
 
 
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Join 3K fun run to raise funds for Farkhunda Trust

Join the Farkhunda Trust with the support of Dr Walid Halimi, PhD student at Westminster University and a Farkhunda Trust Ambassador, in a 3K charity run for education. The money raised will support disadvantaged young women attain a higher education in Afghanistan in order to secure their future and support women’s rights in the country.

For further details see Eventbrite link HERE.

 

On Saturday the 14th of October, two groups of runners will partake in the 3K run: Group 1 will set off at 16:00 while Group 2 will begin at 17:00; there will be approximately 24 runners, all of whom will be wearing Farkhunda Trust t-shirts.

We kindly ask that attendees donate £7 or you can sponsor the runners for just £10.

If you cannot make it on the day, the runners appreciate any amount of donation to support Afghan women’s education.

This is a fun event meant for all ages and abilities, water as well as other refreshments and goodies will be available to purchase at the event. The run aims to bring people together who share the belief that educating women educates a nation. We hope to raise money for the Farkhunda Trust and heighten awareness on women’s access to higher education in Afghanistan. In order to achieve this, we ask that you sponsor the 5K runners. The minimum sponsorship amount is £10.

The location is TBD, but we are planning on Hyde Park. Stay tuned for more information on this.

How Your Money Helps

£700 pays university fees for one student/one year

£150 pays administration fees for one student/one year

£200 buys one laptop which is given to each FT scholar

£330 covers transportation and lunch for one student/one year

£120 pays for stationary, books and other school supplies for one student/one year

From Afghanistan to Silicon Valley: Sophia Mahfooz’s story of hope and resilience

 

From Afghanistan to Silicon Valley: Sophia Mahfooz’s story of hope and resilience
 WHEN I initially spoke to Sophia Mahfooz, I was mostly interested in her new promotion within Girls in Tech (GiT), a non-profit focused on getting women around the world a chance at proper STEM education and employment. She had recently been appointed Chief Operations Officer, and was now responsible for GiT’s female-only pitch competition, AMPLIFY writes  

Mahfooz has a pleasant English-accented voice, and she’s very easy to both listen and talk to. When I mention a favorite true crime writer in passing, she asks me to send her links to some of his stories. Put a couple of cups of Earl Grey between us, and I’d probably be able to speak with her for a good few minutes without once discussing the subject we’d originally intended to talk about. Mahfooz was offering me an inside look at program designed to benefit women who might otherwise be overlooked in the tech world, which seemed plenty interesting on its own. The fact that she was a British-Afghani immigrant who’d successfully broken into the Silicon Valley tech scene was just added color, so I thought.

But from the moment we started talking, it was obvious there was more to her story than that. When she talked about being an immigrant, she told me that she carried that as part of her identity and it had played a large part in shaping who she was.Given the challenges currently faced by young immigrants after the abolition of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, I thought her story as an immigrant and refugee was too interesting to gloss over.

Growing up as a refugee

Mahfooz’s parents lived in Kabul, a major city in Afghanistan. Her family didn’t initially want to leave, but was forced to when their house was bombed during the Soviet and Taliban conflicts that ravaged the country for decades.

“Everyone who had money or education fled the country. My family was very patriotic, and my father was convinced it would pass,” said Mahfooz.

She sounded relatively sanguine about the events before her birth, but spoke with passion about the bravery and toughness of her parents. “I can’t even fathom how challenging it must have been.”

Mahfooz was born, premature, in a border town as her family fled the country. Due to the uniquely trying circumstances of her birth, her parents call her “The Miracle Child.”

Until the age of 20, Mahfooz didn’t have a birth certificate. When I talked to her about the problems immigrants face when trying to get a quality STEM education, she noted that being a child immigrant is far from easy to begin with: “It’s not something that can be changed overnight. You can’t just move to another country and you’re set. The trauma stays. The challenges stay.”

Mahfooz got her education from ad hoc schools in Peshawar, a city in Pakistan near the Kyber Pass where her family stayed after fleeing Afghanistan. The schools were mostly run by academic refugees, and were intended to assist in the assimilation of refugee children. Mahfooz describes those years as some of the toughest of her life, due to her father’s frequent illnesses.

When she was seven, they moved again to London. Mahfooz was put in a program for gifted children, which she attributes to the accelerated incentives of being a refugee as a child. She described being a child of two worlds growing up in the UK: “If you looked at me, I looked like any other student. You’d never think I was a refugee. I picked up the language within three months. From there on, it was like nothing had happened. I let that be my life. I had two identities: Sophia in public, and Sophia at home. When I was home, I ate different food, spoke different languages, had different memories from the ones I shared in public. It didn’t occur to me until I was in college that my experience was different.”

Mahfooz attended University College London. She chose it because of its founding principle of complete secularity — anyone could attend, regardless of religion. Its notable alumni include Mahatma Gandhi, Francis Crick, Alexander Graham Bell and Peter Higgs. “This was the international community I wanted to be a part of,” she said.

Entering the tech world

When I asked Mahfooz how and why she got into the tech scene, I could practically hear her light up. She describes how she switched majors during her undergraduate years in UCL after she entered a pitch competition. At the time, she wanted to be a doctor, and she pitched a medical wearable that detected cardiovascular health.

“That’s when I discovered what I really wanted to do,” she said. “That pitch competition was one of the few times in my life where I felt optimistic and alive.”

She entered multiple pitch competitions, each with different ideas — in at least one she placed with a pitch for an entertainment industry recruitment app. She moved to Silicon Valley and attended Draper University, where she was mentored by Tim Draper and later mentored in turn.

 
Mahfooz spoke of Draper University’s survival training — in which entrepreneurs at the school were taken into the wilderness and told to survive for a week — in glowing terms, and I had to bite my tongue to keep myself from saying otherwise. I probably wouldn’t have been able to perform well under such circumstances.

One thing she noted to me was the conversation of diversity within Silicon Valley — namely, that it was happening at all. She was fascinated with Silicon Valley culture, and the diversity initiatives which she feels are lacking in the UK. Here, she says, there are actually programs designed to help women and minorities make it in tech, which she says isn’t as common in the UK.

When I asked her what it was like being an immigrant — from two countries, no less — in Silicon Valley, she said she believed it gave her an advantage over others. “When you’re an immigrant, you’re a lot more aware of the challenges, and more willing to sacrifice things and make changes.”

Girls in Tech, and giving back

Mahfooz joined Girls in Tech in March 2016 after being introduced to its founder, Adriana Gascoigne. She was appointed its head of partnerships later that year. Moving swiftly up the ranks, she was appointed COO last month.

Her next big project is GiT’s AMPLIFY competition, which takes place on October 18.

In describing the female-only pitch competition, Mahfooz told me with excitement how she wants to give to other women the same experience she had in college: “Taking part in competitions like this and getting recognition for my work was fundamental in shaping how I thought about myself and what I could do in the world.”

She said AMPLIFY, and Girls in Tech in general, aims to create the sort of social support system that hasn’t been available to women in previous decades. “It’s important to show that there are extraordinary female entrepreneurs, in every field from healthcare to fintech to neuroscience.”

By working with GiT, Mahfooz is also giving back in another way: the non-profit’s focus on getting women proper access to technical education extends to her birth country of Afghanistan. She said she’s eager to explore ways of empowering the women of the country while also working within the bounds of local culture.

Mahfooz also is quick to acknowledge her roots, and the decades it took for her displaced family to reach stability. To fellow immigrant entrepreneurs, she said these words of encouragement: “For refugees and immigrants alike, one of the biggest mental barriers is the mentality of scarcity. The rug has been pulled from under you. The advice I would give to them is: use your disadvantage as a launchpad. It’s through that friction and adversity that you will come up with the most creative solutions.”

View image on Twitter

 

See original post HERE.

Afghan team on course for establishing population based cancer registries

A team from NCCP ( pictured) recently (28/8/17-2/9/17) attended the  Center For Cancer Epidemiology (CCE) affiliated to TATA Memorial Center (TMC) in Mumbai, India.

The Center for Cancer Epidemiology is the South Asian hub of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) for cancer registry.

While the NCCP (National Cancer Control Program) has been working on establishing the hospital based (HBCR), as well as populated based cancer registry (PBCR), it was the first formal training by an international organization for the NCCP staff. 

 

More images and full report available by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Landmark visit marks start of collaboration to fight cancer

A team of seven from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) made a five day visit to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore recently (20/08/17).

They were joined by  two nurses and a physician who will be training at the hospital  for more than a month.

Dr Maihan Abduallah said,”I would kindly like you to join me in expressing my deep gratitude to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital staff, especially Dr. Faisal Sultan, the Chief Executive Officer, and Dr. Aasim Yusuf, the Chief Medical Officer, for their warm hospitality. Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital provide the team with free accommodation in the hospital guest house,  plus food and refreshment and transportation. 

“I would also like to thank WHO (the World Health Organisation)  for sponsoring the travel expenses of four of the team members. Last but not the least, I am grateful to MoF, especially  Mr. Halemi Sahib, Director General of Budget, and Mr. Khesraw Mohmand, Head of Health sector for their continuous support of funding capacity building of National Cancer Control Program staff.

Pictured from left: Dr Faisal Sultan, CEO SKMCH & RC and Dr Maihan Abdullah, Head of Afghanistan’s National Cancer Control Programme, sign a Memorandum of Understanding – For full text click:  MOU