On the 8th of March we celebrate the women of the world – and then, we fight for their rights every day after that. 

Many of the women we work with in Afghanistan fight a daily battle to create a safe and stable life, in face of the Taliban’s policies infringing on their freedoms. But they continue to have big dreams for their futures. We would like to share those dreams with you, particularly those of Raihana, Frozan, and Nasima. 

They are three women, who all come from different walks of life, but they all found themselves in Herat, a province in Afghanistan. There, their talents, and creativity get to unfold into beautiful craft, and their love for art and their country unite them.  

Raihana is 21 years old and is one of the talented artisans who paints Østerland’s candlesticks. Her craft is a part of her, it is the “the voice of all untold [she] couldn’t tell.” Regrettably, Raihana’s education was interrupted, but she dreams of the day when she will see “the doors of schools open to girls' '. She dreams of the day when every girl can reach her potential, in Afghanistan and in the rest of the world.  

Frozan is 22 years old and has always loved to create. As a child, she would choose her paints and pens instead of playing with the other kids. She aspires to continue to develop herself through her craft, in a world where women have the same rights as men. 

Nasima is a mom of five and had to move to Herat due to insecurity in her home province.  She fought to create a life for herself and her family, and she has now “found [her] path through the arts”, which she was taught by her hero, her mother. She describes her mother as having “golden fingers”, because of the extraordinary things she could create with her hands. Nasima dreams of seeing her country at peace. She dreams of seeing “equality and freedom in the world”. 

These three women are not just statistics of those living in Afghanistan. They are individuals, who have stories to share. So, this international women’s day, and everyday after that, we are fighting for ourselves, Raihana, Frozan, and Nasima, and all the other women who can see themselves in their passions, struggles, and dreams. 

Happy March 8th,

Østerland

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