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HOW CAN WE HELP AFGHANISTAN

how can we help afghanistan

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know what is cooking in Afghanistan. The Taliban are taking control of the country at a steady and fast pace. Now there is no one to stop them and they are pretty much just walking and taking over cities. After 20 years the US Military and even their own President Ashraf Gani fleeing, this past Sunday, Kabul was taken without much fight.

We have seen chaos and fear in the faces of women, men, and children. Stressful images of people at the airport, even holding to the exterior of the plane, with the hopes to leave- and reach somewhere. We saw them falling straight to their deaths. How desperate you must feel to do that?

I don’t know about you, but I can not sit and watch how people are terrorized. And I say this leaving politics on the side. I am not political- I am peoplitical… We know what the Taliban are about.  From 1996 to 2001, we saw how anyone showing discrepancy-wether religious or not- was persecuted, the return of stonings, brutal physical punishments, and public executions. Women not only have to follow the strict dress and behaviors of the Taliban – the infamous burqa. They are beaten, raped, married really young, segregated, treated worse than dogs, without access to education,  and always accompanied by their male chaperones or mahram. Stupid nonsense like they will chop your fingers off if you use nail varnish. Do you want to know what is to be a woman under Taliban rule?  Read this Wikipedia article.

Now, what can we do?

And before you ask, yes, I know I am just a humble shop owner. I know my limitations. But if there is something that can be done, we should do it. And, yes, I know this is a humble shop blog, but you know we are not a common shop and we support People and Planet. This goes against both.

HOW CAN WE HELP AFGHANISTAN

THE SCOPE

According to the United Nations, around “18 million Afghans—nearly half the country’s population—need urgent humanitarian aid, including food and housing.”  That is a whole lot of people. But if there is something we have learned with Covid, is that a bit of everyone can make a difference.

  1. We can reach out to donate or remotely volunteer with relief funds and aid agencies.
  2. The amount of people fleeing from the terror is huge. There are some refugee organizations that we can support.
  3. Sign up petitions, send letters to your governments, companies, or anyone that can help.
  4. Support women and children-focussed organizations.

I have been looking for aid agencies, relief funds, women organizations… Mind you, I don’t know or have a way to know how efficient they are with the resources. But if you feel that any of their messages resonate with you, feel free to reach out and find ways to help.

Be sure where your money or help is going before making a donation.

1.Relief funds & Aid agencies

Since the fall of Kabul, many International organizations and NGOs have launched emergency aid appeals. Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, and the UN Human Rights Committee need donations to support their front-line work in the country.

Wherever you are based, check what is being done. For example, Baba Mazari Foundation from Australia will be distributing $100,000 in emergency aid to internally displaced refugees. In the UK, we have Afghanaid and Turquoise Mountain.  International Media Support from Denmark, is calling for donations to support Afghan journalists- another group particularly vulnerable to Taliban hate.

Miles4Migrants are accepting donations in air miles to support people with legal approval for travel but without financial means to buy the tickets. Check how many air miles you might have available. I don’t know about you, but my Air Miles always end up expiring anyways.

Individuals can help too. German human rights activist, Omar Haidari, launched this campaign to help displaced Afghans. Filmmaker Kyber Khan also launched this campaign to provide cash in hand to the displaced. Read this from his Gofundme page.

how can we help afghanistan

Afghan activist Samira Hamidi put together a similar campaign but it is finding difficulties to cash the money and start the donations. Banks are being compromised too, so she is looking for other donation strategies. She has done an amazing job.

2. Support refugees

U.S. and Canada are providing special visas for Afghans who assisted Western forces during the war. In this link, you can find resources explaining the immigration requirements and processes for Afghans, while other organizations are seeking volunteers to help with relocation procedures.

There is going to be a wave of asylum claims in Western countries. You might want to support organizations that help refugees in their new countries.  Afghanistan and Central Asian Association is one of these organizations in the UK. Other organizations are Refugee Council U.S.A. and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. They are needing help with airport pickups, meal assistance, teaching English, tutoring, and more.

3. Reach out to lawmakers and sign petitions

But there is still too much bureaucracy and red tape, and now time is of the essence. In the US, the International Rescue Committee has an email form through which you can urge the Biden administration to take immediate steps to ensure “vulnerable Afghans have pathways to safety.”

In these other links, you can find useful resources like letter templatesforms, and contact information for US Senators and Representatives. Pressuring politicians and lawmakers to open safe and legal pathways of migration is something that will definitely help. These are some petitions to lobby the governments in the US, the UK, and Australia.

4. Support Afghan women & children

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s longtime spokesman, promised: “the Taliban would honor women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law”. And in my head, I am thinking.. yep, right?- or their interpretation of such norms. Sorry, but I can not help myself when it comes to this misogyny and violence. Check minute 12.40 on the Vice video below to know what I mean.

According to Time’s sources, “the Taliban have encouraged women to return to work and girls to return to school, handing out Islamic headscarves at the door and even a female news anchor interviewed a Taliban official in a TV studio”. But to me, they are trying to show moderation to avoid exterior intervention. I don’t trust them and I am not alone. Check the fear in the voice of the woman in minute 7.50 in this great Vice video.

Women are now at risk of persecution and violence in Afghanistan. There are women-focused organizations calling for donations, such as the Women for Women International, Women’s Regional Network, the International Refugee Assistance Project, and Women for Afghan Women, which is the largest women’s group in Afghanistan. Mahbooba Seraj, founder of the Afghan Women’s Network is staying in Afghanistan to protect the women and children under her protection. Listen to this podcast to hear her thoughts on this crisis.

how can we help afghanistan

THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Many women journalists continue to report on the conflict despite the high risks. The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee works to protect journalists on the ground. Independent media outlets such as Rukhshana Media, committed to sharing Afghan women’s voices is looking for help to support its journalists. Journalists’  work is too important in these cases- whether men or women.

In the last twenty years, women’s access to education improved dramatically since the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule. The fall of the country to the Taliban risks reversing all this progress back to the dark Middle Ages. Just before this nightmare started, over half of the students attending Herat University were women. What will happen now?

If you care for women and girls’ education- as we do- you can support organizations like the Malala FundSahar, and the Afghan Women’s Educational Centre.

Save the Children is also helping Afghan children. See these statistics from their appeal. It is terrible! If you can donate, if not at least share this article with your friends and family.

how can we help afghanistan

THANK YOU

Thanks to Time, Vice, NPR.org, Women for Women, Women for Afghan Women, International Rescue Committee for providing this valuable information for us to share and amplify. Thanks for the amazing job you do, for supporting Afghans and letting us know what the latest developments are.

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WOMEN´S DAY: WE ARE REMARKABLE

we are remarkable I am remarkable international women´s day

Today, the 8th of March, we celebrate International Women´s Day and it´s very important to join voices and keep talking about what it means. Women are half of the planet´s population. Imagine the amazing power it could bring to the economy, to the politics, to the environment, to the daily lives of our families if all of us would be equally empowered. 

In the morning, I went to a very special event organized by Ana Olmeda, one of our Goshopia Ambassadors and a woman I admire for her courage and determination. It was called #IamRemarkable and was facilitated by Patricia Maroto. This is an initiative from Google that has been around for some years in other countries and finally has reached Dubai.

WE ARE REMARKABLE

Google realized women within their staff were shying away from promotions and had a hard time sharing their achievements. Something though that was kind of natural for their male counterparts. The explanation is coming out of the mindset, education and even what we, as a society, expect to be acceptable. Stereotypes and prejudices are playing against us as women. Results are appalling: We are lacking self-esteem even in areas we master.

The session went on to explain and share some experiences we had. From being not taken seriously to see how your boss rather had a male taking over your position expecting you to train him “so well he will be able to do the job the same way you do it”. I sat down there and cried with some of the stories. Stories of sacrifice, stories of overcoming health, love, and work issues, stories of immense love to our families… These women are amazing. They are not only more than “enough”. They are much more than “a lot”.

Thanks to their sacrifices and their hard work their families are living better lives, able to start from scratch in new countries and have healthy, well-educated children that will, no doubt, make this Earth a better place.

I am proud to be a woman. To be working and serving with my business, my knowledge and my experience to other remarkable women. I know the hardships and struggles. I could relate to many of the ones shared in today´s session. And this is not a matter of “Us vs Them”. Men also suffer their lot. Feminism is about gender equality. Having the same rights whether you are born boy or girl. Many people think Feminism aims to have women ruling the world when in reality it aims to have the same opportunities.

AN IMAGE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

we are remarkable I am remarkable international women´s day
At Today´s #IamRemarkable event doing the Each for Equal sign, the theme of the International Women´s Day 2020.

 

SO WHAT IS NEXT?

Today we celebrate International Women´s Day and it is true we have a lot to celebrate. There have been improvements regarding gender equality. But, the truth is that we still have a long way to go for this world to become a fairer place for all of us. It is a fact that in almost all countries, women remain a vulnerable group. 

The fight is far from being over. But I love how we are able to conquer bit by bit. With no weapons but our words, and facts. Walking demonstrations and having the lawmakers and politicians understand where we stand. With the support of other women and men, like what happened when #metoo came out and reached the Red Carpet.

As an homage to the 8th of March and what it represents, I am writing together with my friend Rebeca Montalvo a bit about history. Little by little, and together, we can make gender equality a reality. Because this journey we do it hand in hand with our brothers, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, and colleagues.

SOME HISTORY ABOUT THE 8th OF MARCH By Rebeca Montalvo

Women’s day is a movement based on a sense of community. Since that day in 1857 in New York when women textile workers demonstrated against low wages and endless working hours, things have changed. Not enough though to say that we have reached equality in rights and conditions.

Our predecessors in this fight for equality kept raising their voices against men’s supremacy. Some years later women reached another milestone, women’s suffrage. The importance of developing a professional career and the idea of sharing the home duties was starting to be seen as normal. But it was only in 1975 the United Nations recognized the 8th of March as International Women’s Day. 

MORE KEY DATES

Another remarkable date is 1909. That year socialists in the United States declared the last Sunday in February as National Women´s Day. There was a meeting that focused on equal rights and women´s suffrage. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a lecturer for social reform, said “Women´s brains are not different than men´s. Women should be able to sidestep a stifling home life in favor of a professional career. It is true that a woman´s duty is centered in her home and motherhood. But home should mean the whole country and not only three or four rooms”. We know this kind of comment about our brains might sound offensive today. But back in the day, it was believed we were intellectually inferior. Thank God those days are gone!

In 1911 the first International Women´s Day was held in Europe. It focused on women´s rights and suffrage. However, World War I ended the possibilities for social reform for five years. After many other important events and a lot of struggle, it is in 1975 that the United Nations recognized the 8th of March as International Women´s Day.

We love the words of writer Chimamanda Ngozi “The purpose of feminism is to cease to exist.” She was the author of the famous text “We should all be feminists”. Let´s hope we get to see this day!

WHY VIOLET IS THE COLOUR REPRESENTING FEMINISM?

There is an omnipresent color in this fight: violet. We see it on posters, banners, t-shirts, pins, and other garments at the feminists’ demonstrations and ads. This is the international color of the equal rights movement and the main color that the American suffragettes adopted as a uniform in the Washington march in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment.

But the association of violet color with feminism dates from much earlier. Specifically, there is a legend that links it to the color of the shirts of the ladies that manufactured shirtwaists at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. This place in New York was as close to sweatshop as you can imagine and there, a terrible event happened: a fire. On that 25th March 1911, 146 women died burned. The terrible deaths were attributed to the bosses. They, for some reason, had locked the fire exits. It sounds similar to the Rana Plaza, right? See the little video the History Channel had on this happening that could have been avoided.

But how is violet connecting to this terrible incident? This same story tells that the smoke that came out of the factory and could be seen miles away was precisely violet.

FASHION & FEMINISM TODAY

Even though the majority of people working in the fashion industry are women, it´s still run mostly by men. “Only 14 percent of major brands are run by a female executive” (Business of Fashion survey of 50 global brands). Many of these women, who do achieve higher positions, declare that there is a moment in their career in which building a family is not compatible with professional growth. The world has been talking about this, but no consensus has been reached. Some countries in Europe have taken the lead but to this day, gender still has a huge impact in the workplace.

Women´s Day is a day to join some of the feminists’ demonstrations and claim what is left to be done when it comes to women´s rights. Politicians have the chance to see the extent of the problem and act. Feminism will work relentlessly to unite us all.

At Goshopia you will find that not only is a female-founded business. But also that most of our brands are led by women. Brave and Remarkable ladies that know what they are capable of and have taken a step forward sharing their amazing designs and slow and sustainable philosophy with you. As a collective, I can proudly say We are Remarkable! See below some of our female designed products.

Remember the women textile workers strike back in 1857 or the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire? Unfortunately, this is still a reality in many factories. Low wages, and long working hours in unsafe conditions. It is a must for us that all Goshopia´s pieces are free of modern slavery. That is how we honor one of our 3 S´s: Socially Responsible brands.

Now, from our green (and violet!) heart to yours… Happy Women´s Day!

feminism we are remarkable

SOURCES

https://www.glamour.com/story/the-glass-runway-fashion-industry-survey

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/shattering-the-glass-runway

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/women-like-katy-perry-wearing-red-international-womens-day/

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CLIMATE CHANGE IS A REALITY

climate change talk

Climate change is a reality indeed. Even though some politicians might decide to look elsewhere or ignore the facts. Scientists knew this was coming and were advising to do something about it long ago. Now time is of the essence and I want to share with you a very special event we got to attend and learn from a lot.

Continue reading CLIMATE CHANGE IS A REALITY

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UNSUSTAINABLE FASHION AND THE CHALLENGES OF OUR CLOTHES

After the reflection of the first part of this article, in line with the Fashion Pact signed in Biarritz, it is evident that Humanity faces a huge challenge in the path towards a more sustainable society. There are two main challenges our clothes are bringing to the table. Continue reading (un) SUSTAINABLE FASHION II & THE 2 CHALLENGES OF OUR CLOTHES

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GRETA THUNBERG´S SPEECH TO THE WORLD LEADERS

Greta Thunberg´s emotional speech

We admire the passion and determination of Greta Thunberg. With only 16 years old, she has proven to have more clarity than many educated adults. And she is not only about words, but she also takes action and gives example. Just the fact of traveling to New York in a zero-emission vessel shows that 1/ she has people supporting her mission and 2/ she is for real.

Let us see her speech in front of the United Nations. We have added the text of the whole speech for you to be able to read it at your own pace and a video if you are more visual. Continue reading GRETA THUNBERG´S SPEECH TO THE WORLD LEADERS

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(un) SUSTAINABLE FASHION: REFLECTIONS FROM AN AESTHETIC G7 FASHION PACT

UNSUSTAINABLE FASHION G7 FASHION PACT

After the applauded Fashion Pact has been signed, fashion remains unsustainable. We don’t see it, or we don’t want to see it. Perhaps we have decided to ignore the tremendous problem that the textile industry poses for the environment and for the people that it is crying out for real measures. But despite the fact that the solution and the steps to tackle it are very clear, we are taking tangential paths that move us away from the solution and prevent us from addressing it efficiently. Continue reading (un) SUSTAINABLE FASHION: REFLECTIONS FROM AN AESTHETIC G7 FASHION PACT