Carrie Hasselback (Afghanistan)

Carrie Hasselback (Afghan Women’s Network - AWN): Carrie received a B.A. from Michigan State University. During her undergraduate studies she also studied in Argentina and Italy. Carrie then worked for The Peace Corps in Romania for two years teaching English to children. At the time of her fellowship, she was studying at New York University pursuing a Master’s degree focusing on International Development and Nonprofit Management.

Kabul Persists

27 Jun

Much like the flight here, my experience has been up and down. While I appreciate the work that my organization does, I am not getting to see very much of it. I really only know what happens because I am asked to write activity reports for the website in English. I do not mind doing this at all, but I hope it isn’t all I do for the next two months.

As of today, I have become a little more involved with the work AWN is doing against gender-based violence (GBV). In Afghanistan, women experienced physical, political, economic, social and cultural violence through decades of political intimidation, and the erosion of rights. Most Taliban regulations barring women and girls from participating in decision-making, working, education or to access basic health services have now been lifted, yet violence against women has not subsided, with attacks on women and girls trying to attend school, acid attacks on teachers, rape and harsh tribal punishments that allow relatives to imprison and even kill young women who lose their virginity, bring shame to their family by falling in love with unacceptable suitors or even seek a divorce.

Despite improvements (largely confined to Kabul), women’s human rights are still being violated across Afghanistan. Only a small fraction of women – and only those in Afghanistan’s cities – are accessing economic opportunities and are able to support themselves and their families. AWN has an awareness campaign to educate people in the provinces and more rural and remote villages around the country about GBV. They are in phase one of the two-phase process. The second phase will focus on legal rights.

I spent this morning researching GBV and the afternoon writing a report on it. I am crossing my fingers that once they become more familiar with me at the office, I will be given more responsibility. Also, they have an employee returning from the USA this week and I hope that that will free up some time for someone to work more closely with me. Either way, I hope to become more involved with the projects happening here.

I found a place to live for the summer. Actually, AP’s other intern, Shirin, found a place to live and I tagged along. It is a beautiful house full of ex-pats and Afghans. There is a wonderful garden that is nice to sit in and read. The roommates do wonders for my mood. It is nice having people around to talk to, or vent to if need be. They are also a great resource for the city since they have been around for a while.

Over the weekend, which is only Friday, I went to see a photo exhibit at a UN guesthouse. The photographer was a woman who has been traveling around Afghanistan and taking pictures. My favorite was a photo of a burqa-clad woman entering a beauty parlor. It was full of irony. Not only were the photos amazing, but also I had a really good time with the people at the exhibit. I was able to meet a lot of ex-pats who are working in many different sectors in the city. It was good for learning and networking.

Posted By Carrie Hasselback (Afghanistan)

Posted Jun 27th, 2005

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