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  • 5 Oct 2022 9:59 PM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)
    The Afghan Women Project (AWP) was initiated by the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs – NYC Affiliate Chapter in August 2021 as a special project to enhance the welcome provided to arriving business and professional women from Afghanistan.
    This project was rapidly elevated to becoming a national project for the 103 year old organization as well as an international initiative, taken on by BPW International. The AWP steering committee met twice a week for 12 months.

    The original four-pronged approach allowed the AWP special project leaders to learn a great deal not only about the specific needs, trials and tribulations experienced by Afghan women arriving in new cultures, but also about the very real challenges faced by all working women on the move – whether in pursuit of their own careers, as spouses, as migrants choosing to relocate or as asylum seekers and refugees.

    This hands-on learning has informed the need for a larger effort, encompassing all working Women on the Move

    One critical discovery was that little is routinely in place to support educated, experienced working women find work other than survival jobs. 

    We also learned that many women in obliged or forced migration suffer too much post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to fully understand the options available to them, the questions they need to ask, and their rights in their new country. In the case of the Afghan Women – from being received as honored guests at military bases, they were soon spread across the US, and turned over to the state, county, city and non-profit run social services – who were under obligation to manage the integration of these newcomers according to strict rules governing assimilation of migrants – regardless of origin, or of status.  

    While the AWP made every effort to provide tools that could help the working women blossom in American culture, we recognize that while our efforts accurately hit the mark and filled real needs, not everyone was in a position or a condition to understand what we were providing.

    We are not a paid social service, and we are not part of the official welcome of the US. We are an organization of women who seek to work together to strengthen the position of working women everywhere. The handful of Afghan women who worked with us have begun to thrive and are finding their way to the life they seek. Constructive change is possible!

  • 4 Oct 2022 5:16 PM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    On September 18, 2021 – just a month after taking over Afghanistan - the Taliban forbade Afghan girls over the age of 12 to go to school. This was just an hour after schools reopened. Female students were forced to leave their schools while their brothers and cousins were still allowed to study.

    Imagine what this means for a country – with no educated girls, there can be no female teachers, no female doctors, no female trained to look after women.

    Zohal, a displaced Afghan woman, a member of NFBPWC, and active in NFBPWC’s Afghan Woman Project is committed to helping female Afghans enjoy the education she had, to which they have a right, and which is promoted through SDG 4.  Her schooling in Afghanistan enabled her to be independent and to come to the US armed with knowledge and ability.

    Zohal is adapting to life in Tucson AZ with her husband and is working in the field she wanted, as a health care provider. She is in a position to use her education to help those with health concerns. But her joy at succeeding is mitigated by the many, many letters she receives from school-age girls still in Afghanistan who want their futures to be as bright as hers. They look to her, and to women in the US as role models. Individuals who can use their education to improve the world around them.

    Let Us Learn!


    The Let Us Learn! campaign is a push to stand up for the education of women and girls whose voices are muted and at risk. This campaign is an appeal to the authorities to act immediately on this issue to reopen schools for girls in Afghanistan to preserve basic human right education!

  • 31 Mar 2022 10:15 AM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    Introducing the Afghan Women Project Guidebook -- a document created by business and professional women, many of whom were themselves immigrants to the United States.

    A living document, it is intended to provide a starting point for your journey towards success in your new lives, and a repository for your experiences as you balance yourself between your past and your future.

    AWP GuidebookAs President of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs in the United States, it has been invigorating to welcome displaced Afghan Business and Professional women and to share our advocacy, support, and training while you settle down all over this beautiful country.

    I view this guidebook as an opportunity for our organization to live our mission to develop the professional, business, and leadership potential of women at all levels in a direct and compassionate manner.

    We look forward to welcoming you into our organization, and we humbly hope that you will find our guidebook and our networks helpful as you begin your journey in the United States of America.

    Since 1919 NFBPWC has been a resource and its members have been Allies to women such as you.

    Megan Shellman-Rickard
    National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs
    President 2020-2022

    This handbook is based on a series of common reactions grouped as:

    • Positive Experiences – this may help defuse misconceptions about life in America, and it may help ease the transition to making the US your home.
    • Learning Experiences – we have all had “Ah Hah!” moments when we finally understood the local ways of doing things, local slang, habits, preferences, jokes and taboos.
    • Fundamental Differences – there are some differences that cannot be bridged but can be embraced if understood.
    • Frustrations – food is different, the language is not like you learned it, you do not know where to get or do something, you cannot communicate your need – we want to help.
    • Fears – In the US people say there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear often is linked to insufficient communication or understanding, to assumptions being made by you and others.
    • Tears – You left your world behind. This one is very different. We have all had tears – but have learned how to move forward.
    • Recommendations – Many people want to help and many of them think they are helping, but do not understand what you are saying or asking. These recommendations are intended to smooth the path.

    A Living Document

    This handbook is oriented to be used anywhere, which is why we close it with a compendium of resources available locally, which we invite you to add to!

     AWP Guidebook - English
     AWP Guidebook - Dari
     English version  Dari version

    Please contact Program Chair, Nermin Ahmad with suggestions, additions, or changes for inclusion on a rolling basis in the guidebook.

  • 1 Nov 2021 10:17 AM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

    Advocating for displaced Afghan Women 

    The National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (NFBPWC) Afghan Women Project works to provide goods and services vital to incoming displaced Afghans. The program opens up paths for their professional business and learning needs via a series of advocacy programs, diversity and inclusion training efforts, and mentoring programs.

    For All Media Inquiries

    Find what you're looking for.

     Press Inquiries  Images Guidebook
    Please contact: Download logo and other images: Read the AWP Guidebook:
    Email Us Get Assets In English & Dari

    Afghan Women Project Facts:

    • Our focus on New Jersey and beyond: 
      As of Feb. 2, the U.S. had welcomed
      more than 76,000 people through Operation Allies Welcome, the federal effort to resettle Afghans, according to the State Department. About 68,000 have moved into local communities with assistance from nine national resettlement agencies and their affiliates, including about 700 individuals in New Jersey. 

      Because agencies that typically would help dozens of people in a year suddenly are responsible for hundreds, NFBPWC stepped forward to lend a hand. And, after realizing there are no resources meant to help business and professional migrant women who arrive in the U.S., NFBPWC sought to fill that void in New Jersey and other places in the United States.
    • Fact Sheet: 

    The AWP Parallel Event at United Nations CSW66:

    Our Articles / Press Releases:

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