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Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

"Table Talk" - Stories from Hosts and Guests in Canada


DinnerThe following “Table Talk” brings you a few samples of stories from hosts and/or participants at the dinners. These dinners commenced in the summer of 2002 and are ongoing and proudly demonstrate a long-term commitment from Canadians to advancing education for Afghan women and girls:

2015:

Host a Breaking Bread this year and help us continue to fund our teacher training program and other education programs aimed at long-term, sustainable change for Afghan women and girls. If you would like to contribute to TABLE TALK...tell us your story....please email breakingbread@cw4wafghan.ca

2014:

Hello all at CW4WAfghan. This donation is in honour of three new lives on this planet who enjoy the privilege of being born in Canada. Rather than baby gifts, I am supporting education for women and girls who don't have the same opportunities as will these beautiful little ones.
Lesley, Roberts Creek, BC


Chime for Change – Gucci Fragrances Our thanks to Gucci Parfums’ Chime for Change campaign for raising $5,000 for The Lantern Fund! http://www.catapult.org/project/teacher-candle-burning-enlighten-others   Last Spring, CW4WAfghan was invited to submit a $5,000 project application for our Lantern Fund teacher training program to be funded through the Chime for Change initiative. Gucci Parfums had pledged $1 million to support all CHIME FOR CHANGE projects through the sale of five designated Gucci fragrances. This charitable cause created by Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini raises funds and awareness for girls’ and women’s empowerment in education, health and justice. These select Gucci products sold at Hudson Bay in Canada this past summer were given a unique code allowing consumers to allocate a $5 donation online to the projects profiled on Catapult, a crowd-funding site that tracks the results of the the Chime for Change contributions. More details are available at www.chimeforchange.org. CW4WAfghan’s project was fully funded Aug 16th, thanks to online donors. Our appreciation and thanks to Chime for Change for their generous contribution. 


We decided to participate in the Breaking Bread fundraiser after we heard Sally Armstrong speak in Toronto about her experiences in Afghanistan and the plight of women. When she described what CW4WAfghan was accomplishing, we knew that we had found an endeavor that was worthy and made a difference at a grassroots level. Our dinner was hosted on Feb 8, 2014 in Dunnville, ON. It was well attended, with 30 ladies present. Instead of a potluck we decided to provide a home-cooked menu prepared by ourselves for our guests so that they only had to come, enjoy and open their hearts. After cocktails and hors d'oeuvers we did a brief presentation about the Breaking Bread fundraising initiative and the educational work being done in Afghanistan for girls and women. We had an amazingly successful evening raising a total of $2,100 which surpassed our initial goals.
Andrea, Dunnville, ON


2013:

I am a woman and I go to school. Although I feel privileged to be going to school at my age, there is nothing extraordinary about that statement. Not in Canada. Not in the United States, nor in many other countries. But, if you are a woman or a girl in Afghanistan, the statement becomes very significant....more"
Spring Gillard, Vancouver


“BellyDancing Ann”

Belly Dance FUN and FUNdraising – Hey, it’s not what you think!

And that’s exactly what I call this awareness workshop for the Teacher’s Training Project, an empowering session through an ancient art form, as it truly is, not-what-you-think! 

I was asked to write up my fundraising adventure as it has now been 5 years since starting in March 2008 and $20,000 in donations!  What can I say but I’m just as surprised as you at this amount; people, I guess, like to throw money at belly dancers, feminist ones at that!  Old ones too. I’m sixty.  (The henna-coloured hair helps.) 

It all started with my belly dance teacher.  She organized a  “Breaking Bread for Afghan Women” dance workshop with food and donations.  I took this idea and made it my own.  I ask a flat fee of $30, that way no one says no because of the money and they get a tax receipt.  Then I ask permission to put out a basket for any additional loonies, toonies or more.  Almost always, $100 is donated.  I bring all coin belts, veils, and tambourines to workshop sites, most often people’s homes.  We just dance around the furniture.  I bring the CD player too and print info about CW4WAfghan.  The workshop is 45 minutes long with 20 minutes of talking, history of belly dance and the story of our CW4WA and 20 minutes of follow-the-leader dance lesson, 5 minutes in between for dress-up!  The pictures pretty much explain it. 

Belly Dancing Anne

If you have a share-able interest, like cooking or a fitness activity, think about fund-raising in this way yourself.  Here’s a list I prepared for a social justice workshop.

TOP TEN HOW-TO IDEAS FOR SUCCESSFUL ON-GOING FUNDRAISING FROM:
“It’s-not-what-you-think” Bellydance Fundraiser for

 Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
1.    Think about a particular skill, interest or activity that lends itself to sharing
2.    Choose the organization that you want to support and let them know
3.    Start small.  “Practice” your event for free with a sympathetic group(s) until you feel comfortable or it feels like a beloved hobby
4.    Make the fee/donation affordable, $30.  Tax receipts are issued for this amount.  Put out a basket for any additional donations.
5.    Talk about the organization and your story – how you got to a fundraising place – it interests people and it may inspire someone else
6.    Book-keeping, keep it simple and up-to-date
7.    Send thank you notes
8.    If the fundraiser grows, get business cards, or if “techy” a website
9.    Distance rule-of-thumb, keep it do-able, i.e., a 40 minute drive
10.  Remember the words of a Swedish activist “Don’t mourn, [a sad situation in the world] organize!  But have some fun doing so!”
Anne Cameron, Ontario


April

Calgary Herald AD: THANK YOU CALGARY!

2012:

Thank you very much for an excellent presentation as part of the Breaking Bread dinner. The function was very professionally done and, if I may say, it was  impeccable. Friends at my table were in awe when they saw the ambience, courtesy and swiftness with which the evening was organised and your address resonated well with the audience and will have an impact for the forseeable future.

Sally Armstrong, of course, had a very strong message: Education is a fundamental human right for every child and yet denied to Afghan girls, not to mention gender based violence that can cause psychological and emotional trauma to the weaker sex in many third world countries.
 
I left that evening with a lot of hope, optimism and comfort in the knowledge that as long as there are genuine individuals and Angels like you that walk on this earth, they will make enormous difference to the challenges ahead.
Mary, Calgary

======

One person CAN make a difference.  How true that is in the life of Sally Armstrong who for years has been a voice not only for the girls and women of Afghanistan, but for girls and women around the world. On May 15 of this year, the Owen Sound chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) was delighted to host a public event with Sally entitled “Women: Agents of Change in a World of Poverty, Violence and War”.  Well over 200 people attended. Sally spoke for 45 minutes about her experiences around the world, with special emphasis on her experiences in Afghanistan. The feedback afterwards was extremely positive with everyone so appreciating her easy, warm style and the depth of the knowledge and insight that she has gained over the years. Her message was both informative and challenging always shared from a place of deep compassion. Her commitment in the face of danger was inspiring and humbling. Her talk was followed by a 45 minute Q and A, in interview format, with written questions from the audience. Around $650 was raised for CW4WA. Perhaps of even more importance was that those attending heard how the lives of girls and women are being changed through education and support. It was so encouraging to hear the stories of the many young Afghan women who have already become agents of change in their communities and to grasp how deep is the determination they have to stay focused on their mission to improve the lives of girls and women. Such a positive message it is hoped will continue to inspire girls and women in Canada to do all they can to support these brave young women so that they can in time enjoy the freedoms that we so often take for granted. We are all so grateful for the time that Sally was able to fit us in to her very busy schedule!!
Lynda, CFUW, Owen Sound

The Breaking Bread Dinner held on May 10th, co-hosted by Anita, Jocelyn and Sandra, was the trio’s fourth event and “definitely the best yet”, according to Anita. Their first two dinners were held at Anita’s home where she and Jocelyn organized and presented delicious, authentic Afghan dishes for a group of about 20 friends and neighbours. Last year the group expanded and moved to Sandra’ home, and this year about 40 supporters of CW4WAfghan gathered there to enjoy a dinner of Gheimeh (a traditional favored Persian dish often associated with charity, made with beef, yellow split peas, tomatoes, onions and dried lime), Fesenjan Chicken (a simple and intensely flavored Persian chicken stew thick with tart-sweet pomegranate molasses and rich toasted walnuts), Qabili Pilau (a fragrant basmati rice dish accented with a blend of nuts, dried fruit, carrots and herbs), Saladeh Shirazi (finely chopped tomatoes and cucumbers mixed with fresh mint and lime juice) and Saffron ice cream.

May10

Following dinner, Janice Eisenhauer, Executive Director and co-founding member of CW4WAfghan shared with the group an overview of some of the projects undertaken by the organization in Afghanistan. Janices’ talk included a video presentation by Murwarid Ziayee, CW4WAfghan's Kabul-based Country Director. The video presentation was an informative and profound account of the work and impact of the funds raised to support education of Afghani children and adults.  It also included a very special personal thank you to the three dinner hosts, creating a sincere connection to the Afghan community.

The motivation to host the dinners was sparked by a shared interest in several books including “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali  and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by  Kahled Hosseini. It was after reading these books that these women wanted to contribute in some way to helping women and girls in Afghanistan. It was the Breaking Break dinners through CW4WAfghan that offered a real opportunity to  make a meaningful contribution  to support educational initiatives in Afghanistan, and also by educating Canadians about human rights abuses in Afghanistan. And to accomplish this through fellowship, friendship, cooking and sharing a meal seemed a perfect fit.

Anita – “It is such an honor and pleasure for me to host breaking bread dinners that give an opportunity to advance women’s rights in less privileged countries and share this important quest with women of like minds and hearts. Canadian women are all so fortunate to have the opportunities and freedom that we do. It is simply unjust and inhumane that Afghanistan women  cannot be educated or have a presence or voice in their society. Breaking bread dinners provide an easy, fulfilling way to work toward equality and significantly improve rights and opportunities for all of Afghanistan in the long term.

Jocelyn – “As a University professor, CW4WAfghan provides  a wonderful  opportunity  to  be  involved in supporting teachers and their students in our global world.  Canadians, and Canadian women in particular, have unbelievable opportunities, many people can’t access. Participating in the work of CW4WAfghan is one of the small ways I can make a contribution to literacy levels, educational infrastructures, and through that to the health of the population.

Sandra – “I have tremendous respect for those individuals who travel to Afghanistan, who work on the ground to build schools, prepare teachers and educate Afghan girls and women in an effort to rebuild their war-torn country. I know I will never travel to Afghanistan, but through this program, I really feel like I’m part of the solution.

The evening along with its good company, thought provoking information and discussion, and Afghan food all helped excite and energize guests toward action and was a huge success. We extend  heartfelt thanks to those that joined us on May 10 andvery much look forward to Breaking Bread again next year.

Sandra, Anita and Jocelyn, Calgary

Apr:

Breaking Bread, Calgary, 26 April 2012:  This year, the ninth one, Irene MacDonald and her organizing committee took their annual Breaking Bread dinner to a whole new level by moving to a larger venue and more than doubling from previous years the number of people in attendance. Needless to say, the event was a resounding success with over $55,000 in donations and just over $5,000 from the marketplace. Alongside the hard work that Irene and her volunteers put in, it must be stressed that this event could not have taken place without the generosity of donors (Newalta, TransCanada, Chevron, Elan Construction, Calgary Herald, Fresh Kitchen, Kalamata Grocery, and Starlite Sales and Rentals) and the wonderfully loyal people who reserve the tables and sell out the dinner every year.  Guest speaker this year was award-winning journalist and author Mellissa Fung who has been with CBC Television since 2003. As a national correspondent, she has covered numerous topics on both Canadian and world affairs, including the Robert Pickton trial, the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and the war in Afghanistan. Ms. Fung was abducted on the outskirts of Kabul on her second tour of that country in 2008. Her book, Under an Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity, chronicles that experience. Her account of the kidnapping and the 28 days she spent in captivity in a tiny dirt room underground was absolutely rivetting and compelling for the crowd of 500 people who came to the Breaking Bread dinner on Thursday, April 26th at the Thorncliffe Community Hall in northwest Calgary, as was her plea for all of us to continue to remember the women of Afghanistan. Her stories of the experiences of women she knows and has interviewed, whose lives are in terrible and constant danger, or who have been killed, were poignant and chilling reminders of why events like this have to happen and money has to be raised.
Sharon, Calgary

Apr 26th Breaking Bread Fundraiser

March:

Sally Armstrong was the featured speaker at the Victoria Chapter`s 2012 fundraiser on March 28th. Over 200 people came out to hear her talk and many have said how moved and inspired they were by Sally`s address which spoke of the power of women to change the world.  Her message for Afghanistan: ``As the international community leaves Afghanistan, Afghans need to rely on their own considerable talents and we need to continue to support them. The good news is that a group called Young Women for Change is leading the way forward. They claim that sixty-five per cent of Afghans are under the age of 25 and “we have never gone to war, we have new ideas and we are against the old customs that nobody wants.” They could have been sent by central casting – the right group with the best message at precisely the right time.``  Jo-Ann Roberts from CBC was our personable moderator; Canadian Federation of University Women were our co-hosts; and we were pleased to have help from the Sooke group of Little Women.  We raised almost $4000 for programs in Afghanistan.  Our thanks to many sponsors and volunteers and especially to Sally for her inspiration.
Jill Leslie, on behalf of Victoria Chapter

SallyArmstrong-Students-Victoria

(above photo, left to right - Vaile, Brenn, Sally, Aliya, Olivia, Elana

 


 

Students 4 Change raises $3,200 for Afghan women

Mar 14, 2012 03:43 pm | Chelsie Dowler
An International Women’s Day celebration was hosted by the George McDougall High School’s Students 4 Change leadership group and raised nearly $3,200 for women in Afghanistan. “Before you support a cause, you should research a lot,” said Rosie Addo, this year’s group leader and Grade 12 student of George McDougall. All of the funds raised at the March 8 Breaking Bread potluck dinner will go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Addo said. The goals of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan is to advance educational opportunities for Afghan women and to educate Canadians about human rights in Afghanistan. Students 4 Change is a local student-run group that raises money to help people and organizations all over the world. More than $30,000 has been raised since Glyn Hughes, head of George McDougall’s Social Studies department and founder of Students 4 Change, started the group nine years ago. This year’s ninth annual Breaking Bread potluck brought out more than 85 people who had a chance to bid on numerous silent auction items donated by 34 local businesses. Syndey Brown, a Grade 4 student of A.E. Bowers elementary school, presented a $262.78 cheque, which was raised from student donations at her school. Guest speakers included Kaleigh Kuchinski, a former Students 4 Change member and graduate of George McDougall, who went on to get a degree in social anthropology, and Janis Rapchuk, vice president of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. “This was one of the best years for the silent auction,” said Alexandra Funk, a Grade 12 student at George McDougall and fourth year member of Students 4 Change.
http://www.airdriecityview.com/article/20120314/ACV0302/303149959/students-4-change-raises-3200-for-afghan-women
Airdrie, AB

2011:

Dec:

Excerpt from www.WSN-BLOG.COM:

Does social investing make cents?
I recently attended a Christmas Party for an insurance company who created a raffle draw to support a charity called Canadian Women for Women In Afghanistan.  With little effort, they raised over $700.00 in one night. Knowing a company like this is always weaving social investing into their culture, means I will keep investing in their services for the long term.  Guess what...I am not alone. According to a study reported in the Brand Bubble, " 81% of consumers say they are likely to switch brands to support a cause if price and quality are equal."  Whether you just invest in community because you feel it is the right thing to do or you invest because it is a strategic employee investment plan.... just do it.
Denise, Calgary

Aug:

To Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, this is the money I raised for my 13th birthday. I decided to donate the $290 to you because I read a book about a girl living in Afghanistan and I thought the money would help people like her.
Isabelle, Calgary

July:

 Susan Hartley, Chair of the Atlantic Chapter was invited to speak at the Acadia Street Elementary School by teacher, Suzanne and four grade six girls who had been motivated by the Breadwinner to raise funds. For the last 3 months of the school year these 4 girls motivated their entire school to get involved and this money is what they raised! 
Thanks to staff and students at
Acadia Street Elementary School, New Glasgow, NS

May:
 

FUNDRAISER FOR AFGHANISTAN A HUGE SUCCESS.  On May 27 a fourth fashion-show fundraiser for the women and children of Afghanistan was held in the I.O.O.F. Hall in Langdon, AB with almost 100 ladies and l gentleman attending. The evening followed the same format as previous events, with a wonderful selection of silent raffle and silent auction items available and three members of the Calgary Chapter of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan brought out the Afghan Market with crafts, jewelry and books which have been enormously popular in the past.  These ladies were absolutely blown away when they realized, at the end of the evening, their sales had reached $l543.00.
Photo: CW4WCW4WAfghanBoothAfghan Marketplace in
Langdon with members, Lorna and Irene

     Janice Eisenhauer, a founding member of CW4W in Afghanistan spoke for about 40 minutes on life for the women and children at the present time, how some miniscule progress has been made with the provision of educational programs, libraries and generally support from the global community, reaffirming that they deserve to have the same rights and freedoms as women elsewhere in the world. 
     Janice also showed a selection of visual images of her trip to that war torn country at the beginning of the year, and these pictures were really powerful.  She urged the audience that despite Canada's withdrawal of its fighting troops this year, we must keep up the work of providing funds to hire teachers, because through education, there is still hope of a better life for these women and children half a world away, which in turn will make this a more peaceful world for our grandchildren and their children to grow up in.  There is much work to do these days! 
     Following Janice's talk, we had the fashion show featuring clothing by Jockey, jewelry by Lia Sofia and some very cool handbags,  modelled by eight local 'hotties' - Jean Webber, Louise and Marie Pratt, Judy Winters, Donna Wenstrom, Sue Collins, Robin Carter and Cheryl Woods - you gals did an awesome job of showcasing these outfits and sales certainly reflected that!  I would like to send a huge note of appreciation to the members of Langdon Oddfellows No. 40 for allowing me to use the Hall at no charge for the evening, and to the following businesses in Langdon for their support - Western Financial, Botsfords Deli, Schule's Consulting and Canadian Pizza Unlimited.  I would also like to send a bouquet to EVERYONE who supported this fundraiser so generously, either by donating items or cash, helping with food, lending me tablecloths, organizing the hall etc. etc.  it was definitely a group effort!  Special thanks to Corinne Winter of Winters Turkeys for being my partner on this project!
     The final tally for the evening came in a couple of weeks ago at $3,284.15 plus $l543.00 from the Afghan Market for a grand total of $4,827.15.  It costs $l500 per year to hire a teacher and $750 to provide a mini library, so thanks to the generosity of so many caring individuals we have been able to make a GREAT contribution and the best part of all is that every single penny of these proceeds goes directly to Afghanistan!
     Sometime next year there is a good chance Langdon will be hosting another event, with Sally Armstrong, a well-renowned Canadian journalist as guest speaker.  Sally was the first female journalist to venture into Afghanistan and bring news to the world of the atrocities against women at the hands of the Taliban.  She is a leading authority on the region these days and has written several books.  It will be a real honour to have her in our midst.  I will get the word out in plenty of time as soon as we have a firm date!
Thank you, THANK YOU, for caring!
Sincerely, Chris Bishop, Langdon, AB
  

On Friday, May 6, more than 90 women (and a few men) gathered for our third Breaking Bread event at Christ Church Parish Hall in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Following the wonderful meal, we heard a thoughtful presentation by photojournalist Mattheiu Aikins, who shared his obvious admiration and concern for the Afghan people through his affectionate stories and stunning photographs. He explored the present situation and the future of women's rights in anticipation of the transfer of control over security and governance to Afghans by 2014. Susan Hartley, Atlantic Chapter Chair, then highlighted the projects sponsored by CW4WAfghan.
   Many people were moved by the urgency of the situation faced by Afghan women and girls as can be seen by the $3,342.00 in donations.
   Thank you to everyone for your continued commitment to raise awareness in Canada of the human rights issues for our sisters in Afghanistan, and for actively supporting a better future for Afghan women and their families.
Fran, Halifax, NS

April:

For the eighth year in a row, Irene MacDonald and her Committee held their annual Breaking Bread dinner and hosted a sold-out event for approximately 230 people at the Triwood Community Centre in northwest Calgary. At last count, the event raised $30,555 in donations, silent auction items, and sales from the Marketplace. Remarkably, and in keeping with previous years, all donated money from those attending the dinner is able to go to Afghan programs because of the generous sponsorships of Newalta Corporation and Elan Construction.
     This year's keynote speaker was Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan's very own Janice Eisenhauer. What a special treat this was, especially since Janice was quite recently in Afghanistan and was able to give an excellent and very current overview of specific CW4WAfghan initiatives and activities. Making skilful use of her slides from the trip and speaking eloquently about all the places she visited, Janice was able to give her appreciative audience a good sense of what the charity is doing in Afghanistan.
     Everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner provided by Ethnicity Catering of Calgary, a non-profit social enterprise of the Center for Newcomers. This group provides Canadian employment experience and training to immigrant women in transition. What a perfect fit this was for the Breaking Bread experience.
Organizers were able to sell about 30 CW4WAfghan memberships at the event as well. Several attendees wondered, as they purchased their memberships, if this would guarantee a seat at next year's event. Surely that is the best sign one could receive that the night was a resounding success.
Sharon, Calgary, AB
 

March:
On Thursday March 3rd, Students 4 Change(S4C) at George McDougall High School(GMHS) held its 8th annual Breaking Bread Potluck Dinner to raise awareness and money for Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. This year as part of the CW4WAfghan event and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD), Mr. Hughes’ Social Studies class participated by creating posters to honour some of the world’s champions of women’s rights and these posters were displayed at the Breaking Bread Event. A graduating student who has been very involved in S4C in her high school career, Wendy Addo, delivered the IWD speech which was very powerful and witty as it touched on gender issues that affect even the free and emancipated women of our world.The potluck dinner was another good, awareness raising event, complete with a fifty-fifty draw, a silent auction, henna, and a feast, all of which was facilitated by Students 4 Change. Students 4 Change will strive to continue to excel in making the annual event successful.
     Carolyn Reicher (Co-founder of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan) spoke about how the fundraising efforts are paying off in Afghanistan. She stated that, whether the money is going to educate or to feed the people, it is being well spent. Janice Eisenhauer, Co-founder and Executive Director, had just returned from Afghanistan and she was able to share first-hand knowledge of the progress being made with regard to a multitude of women's issues.
     We believe it is important for GMHS students to be informed when it comes to their global community and this event has been structured to allow people to become knowledgeable and understand were there donations are going to be used. This event has also helped our school build camaraderie and to feel connected to the larger community. We are very proud to say that we were a part of this event and we know it would not have been possible without the dedication of our Social Department Head and Co-founder Mr. Hughes and all of the other Students 4 Change members.
Wendy, Rosie, Wyatt, and Glyn, Airdrie, AB

2010:

Nov:

Greetings. I would like to make a donation in the amount of $1,369. to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Afghan women are dear to my heart because I worked as an educator for two years in Kabul from 2007-2009. Those years were the most rewarding and fulfilling of my life. Afghanistan is a much misunderstood place; few in Canada know how truly wonderful and kind Afghans are. It was an honor for me to have spent time in their beautiful country.
     After I returned to Canada, I wanted to do something that would have a direct impact on Afghan women even though I was no longer working side by side with them as an educator. My experiences in international development have led me to believe that although education is important, a woman's ability to earn an income and ensure her family's survival is even more so. In an endeavor to help Afghan women secure an income, I started a small company which imports Afghan women's handcrafts and sells them to the Canadian public. My company has recently expanded to import products handcrafted by underprivileged groups and artisans in Nepal, Kenya and Zimbabwe, but my heart remains forever connected to the land and people of Afghanistan.
     This donation represents the kind of donations of concerned citizens in Wainwright who placed bids on silent auction items (many of which were Afghan handcrafts donated by my company, Gandhara Designs) at the Wainwright Women in Business Trade Show.It is with great pleasure that I forward these monies to your esteemed organization. Thank you for the good work that you do.  I would be very happy to become involved with CW4WAfghan and to share my experiences of life in Kabul at one of your events.
Sky, Wainwright, AB

Oct:

Our book club thought a potluck dinner would be a great way to spend an evening together to raise funds, increase awareness and above all enjoy great food and great company. A few of us had heard Sally Armstrong speak and became inspired to do something for the women and girls in Afghanistan.
    The potluck dinner was held on Wednesday, November 3. Since our book club is small, with only seven members, we decided to each invite a friend and set a donation amount of $50 each. We also decided to go with an Indian theme, with the book club members preparing the food for the guests.We had a variety of different dishes including desserts. We had Patricia Floch'Anderson come to explain how our funds were going to be used. Patricia was past Chair of the CW4WAfghan Calgary Chapter and had moved to Grande Prairie in the spring. Patricia was an excellent speaker, enthused and very knowledgeable. This was a great way to raise funds, socialize and eat!! We raised $750.00
Donna, Grande Prairie, AB                                                                                 

Jul:

I have now hosted our school's third Afghanistan lunch. This year was a little different, as my grade 2 class took on a fundraiser to help out.  I have been making skipping ropes for our school over the last few years.  This year, i made the ropes, and my students helped me sell them to our students for at-home use.  We made a dollar for every rope sold. Some 240 ropes later, as well as door-to-door sales of seashell and rock collections (2 budding philanthropists took the fund-raising to a new level) we combined our rope sales with the funds raised through staff donations. Cheques for 850.00 are in the mail. Thank-you so much for the opportunity to make a difference for girls and women who deserve so much better.
Kathleen, Winkler, MB

June:

Thank you so much for inspiring us to make a difference. Reading the Breadwinner trilogy changed all of us in grade 6 this year, further impacting our staff, parents and community. We learned so much about making a difference to life in Afghanistan. We loved our Breadwinner fundraising night with Chef Michael Smith!! So much fun. The staff later had a donation-collecting potluck as well. We raised $300. for you and another $100. for our school lunch program. We are so excited and proud of our efforts. The students are especially excited of the idea of Deborah Ellis herself finding out what they did. They would like to hear from her someday too. They asked me to say that!
Souris Consolidated School, Souris, PEI

On Monday, June 14th, women (and a few men!) gathered for our 2nd Breaking Bread for Afghan Women event at Christ Church Parish Hall in Dartmouth, NS Along with the wonderful meal and excellent company, we heard presentations from Susan Hartley, the Chair of the Atlantic Chapter of CW4WAfghan and from Stephan Puddicombe, a CBC journalist who had been to Afghanistan.
     Last year, we hosted the event in the same venue and 48 attended or made donations. and we realized a total of $1280. in contributions. Our goal this year was to double both the number of participants and the amount of contributions. to that end, I invited 15 women to each invite 5 more to join us for the evening, and asked that they draw their invitees from the broader community than simply our mutual friends. The planning group provided the appetizers, a variety of main courses and assorted desserts. The result was a splendid mix of amazing women from such diverse groups. Each person attending was asked to donate at least $20. The result was $2230. that will go a long way to ensure educational initiatives for Afghan girls and women.  Our hope is that those who participated in our event are now inspired to host similar events, drawing from their circle of friends. Thank you for the good work you do to raise awareness in Canada, and to support the promise of a better future for Afghan women and their families.
Fran, Dartmouth, NS

May:

The Lorne Park Book Club hosted this year's get together which raised $1200. to support the education of Afghan women and girls. Some 35 women enjoyed an authentic meal made by members of Mississauga's Afghan Women's Association. Guests learned about Afghanistan and the live women and girls live there.(Editor's Note: This was taken from a newspaper article by Julia Le).
Mississauga, ON 

Apr:

[Editor's Note: Our very warm congratulations to Kaleigh, formerly with Students for Change in Airdrie, AB who is at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Kaleigh and her network and friends recently hosted their third Breaking Bread fundraising event. It was a wonderful success with a silent auction, delicious food, presentations and entertainment. Our sincere thanks to all who helped to raise some $1,800 and who encouraged the much needed discussions and dialogue about Afghanistan. You can read more about the event at: http://dalnews.dal.ca/2010/04/06/bread.html?utm_source=home&utm_medium=hottopic&utm_campaign=dalnews]

Mar:

Hi Ladies. It’s Alaina. Just emailing you to let you know about the great success of our Gala. On April 17th, to help spread awareness and raise money to support education in Afghanistan, Little Women held a Gala event called “A Night Out With little women, A little dessert and peace” We had a live and silent auction as well as an Afghan Market place. This night we showed our photo poetry exhibit and launched our fantastic book “Through our Eyes”. Afghan kites hung from the ceiling, carpets covered the floor and it truly looked like an outdoor marketplace. We had a wonderful show with Little Women dancing and many young performers singing and playing piano and dancing. We felt we passed on a very strong message that night that kids are very powerful and can make change and make a difference. Janice Eisenhauer and Janis Rapchuk came out for the event and we were very thankful to have them join us that night.  It was so empowering having the “2 Js” supporting us in our work. It means a lot that in their very busy schedules, they are able to break away and help make our event such a wonderful evening. Thank you both very, very much.
      Lauryn and Marianne O’Grady were our guest speakers. They sat on the stage with the Littles answering questions and sharing their stories from Afghanistan. It was inspiring and many people in our audience had a different perspective on what is going on in Afghanistan and how important it is to educate and keep supporting the good work we are doing there. I thank them for not only enlightening the audience but giving the Little Women a better connection to the girls they are helping in Afghanistan.
      The desserts were fantastic and yummy, the decorating was beautiful, the entertainment was moving and we will be sending about $16,000 to Canadian Women to support our projects in Afghanistan.
     Overall the night was a great success and we are happy and excited to see how our event has made a difference through raising money but most importantly, raising awareness.
Education=Peace,   Alaina

Students for Change at George McDougall High School held their 7th annual Breaking Bread dinner in Airdrie for International Women’s Day, in early March. Their special guest speaker was author, Donna Kennedy-Glans, Executive Director of Canada Bridges, an Alberta-based NGO operating in the Middle East and Africa. Students and their families also organized a silent auction, entertainment, refreshments, products and slides from Afghanistan. Everyone brought dishes to share and the evening was a wonderful time for fellowship and learning.
George McDougall High School, Airdrie

On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, SIAST Kelsey Campus in Saskatoon, SK, played host to 52 guests for an evening of wonderful Afghan food and a viewing of the film Daughters of Afghanistan.  It was a Breaking Bread dinner organized to raise money for the volunteer-based non-profit organization, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
     The evening started off with cocktails while Afghan music played in the background and beautiful photos of Afghanistan were on display through a PowerPoint presentation.  A delicious four course Afghan meal was prepared and served by Hotel and Restaurant Administration students under the expert guidance of their instructors.
     After a fabulous dinner, the documentary Daughters of Afghanistan was shown.  In this 2003 film, journalist Sally Armstrong exposes the ongoing struggles of women in modern Afghanistan by following the lives of five courageous women from diverse backgrounds.  It was a very informative film which served as a powerful reminder as to why the work that CW4WAfghan is doing is so important.
     Event organizers, Grace Carney and Laurel Marsh, have hosted a total of four Breaking Bread dinners in cooperation with the Food Services Department at Kelsey since 2006.  A total of $1855 was raised this year, bringing the total amount raised for CW4WAfghan through the SIAST dinners to more than $10,000.
     Organizers would like to extend a huge thank you to the SIAST community for supporting such an important cause
Laurel, (SIAST) Saskatoon

Feb:
A young Victoria boy wanted his birthday money to go to a boy in Afghanistan. We gave his $100 to a village boy named Ezzatullah. This young man was identified as needing help as, tragically, his father has died and his mother earns income only from selling cow’s milk. They are very poor. Ezzatullah was really happy for this gift, and he and his mother extend their thanks to “the Canadian boy”.

HelpVillageBoy

Editor's Note: We told you about Anne Cameron in an article in our July/Aug 2008 Newsletter, "My ABC Afghanistan Fundraiser via Bellydance in Canada - A Teacher's Saga". Anne continues her fundraising in support of CW4WAfghan and the teachers in Afghanistan. Check this out:  http://most.therecord.com/index.aspx?issue=issue02&page=37

Jan

On Jan 23rd, nine couples shared a wonderful evening in support of Women for Women. Our evening began with an informative presentation by Susan Hartley (CW4WAfghan Atlantic Chapter) followed by our potluck and a lovely evening of friendship and conversation. Enclosed please find our donations towards your efforts.
Suzanne, New Glasgow, NS

I'm so proud to say I'm a supporter of CW4WA. I am keenly interested in your programmes and follow on the internet. Keep up the good work. I wish I could give more [monthly donor].
Eleanor, Norland, ON

We did enjoy the chapter rmeeting last week. Having travelled in Afghanistan years ago, we wish to help the girls and women there. So please accept our donation for this purpose. And we look forward we hope to attending your next meeting.
Marian, Calgary, AB

I enclose the cheques and money order for the total $930 contributed at the recent Breaking Bread pot luck dinner organized by my book club in Halifax.
Peggy, Bedford, NS

2009:

Nov
 

Wow!! The Cake Auction held last month was a HUGE success. Students, staff and raised funds in 4th period classes to come up with a bid to try and score the biggest and best of the cakes brought in on Monday, November 2nd. The cakes, made by the staff, were delectable, delicious and visually stunning. Our school's efforts raised $2,500 dollars. Students suporting students and teachers and support staff supporting teachers--half way around the world--AMAZING! We thank you for the opportunity to participate in supporting this most worthy initiative.
Kathryn, Co-President Social Justice Club, Notre Dame Catholic High School, ON

Email sent by host to the guests at a recent Calgary Breaking Bread:  Thanks again for joining us at the Breaking Bread dinner to support Afghan women and girls.  We all gained a better understanding of the the situation in Afghanistan and had an opportunity to do something about it.  You'll be pleased to learn that your contribution, together with contributions from three other women who were unable to join us that evening, resulted in a total contribution of $3000.  This is enough to fund four teachers in Afghanistan for a full year.  The funds have been forwarded to CW4WA and you should be receiving a tax receipt by the end of the year. An amazing result from an amazing group of women.  Thank you for your support!
Susan, Calgary


Oct

October 17, 2009 the Edmonton Chapter hosted its first Taste of Afghanistan dinner at Glenora Community Hall.  The Glenora Community League kindly donated use of the hall. All the food was prepared by local Afghan women who volunteered many hours to prepare a wonderful dinner of traditional dishes.  These included:  
•    Dogh: a yogurt drink
•    Quabuli Palow:  a rice dish with carrots, raisins and pistachios.
•    Beef Kabobs: hand formed ground beef kabobs flavoured with ginger, cinnamon and cilantro and cooked on the barbecue.
•    Salad
•    Sabzi: spinach with onions, garlic and red beans.
•    Bolani Kachaloo: fried flatbred filled with potatoe and green onion.  
•    Firnee: a white custard dessert

Each table was served with a platter of fresh vegetables and a pot of Afghan tea.  A display of ingredients for each dish was set out and recipes were available for everyone to take home. Laurie Hawn, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre happened to be in the neighborhood that day and stopped in to the kitchen for a surprise visit.  After dinner, Brian Fjeldheim spoke and shared slides about his recent experiences working in Afghanistan with the Electoral Complaints Commission. Jewelry was the hottest selling item at the craft table. A woman who had visited Afghanistan in the 1970’s was excited to find a Lapis necklace. Lapis is the blue gemstone mined in Afghanistan for over 6,000 years.  The evening concluded with a performance by dancers in colorful hand stitched traditional Afghan dresses.

Edmonton FundraiserFood Edmonton Fundraiser

 


A "Happening"in Support of Afghan Women and Children
by Paula Walker and Fran Larkin of St. Philip's, Milford

 

The news seems so full of the world's pain and suffering?  It is easy to feel overwhelmed and useless, especially when you are a small church or parish with limited resources.  We can't solve all the world's problems, but we can continue to pray and be ready when an opportunity arises which will benefit even a few.

   The Anglican Parish of Marysburgh, which serves the south eastern part of Prince Edward County, is comprised of St. John's, Waupoos and St. Philip's, Milford - two small rural churches of around 30 families each. The parish launched "The Year of Afghanistan" when the son of a couple from St. Philip's returned to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty with the Canadian military.  We wanted to support him and his unit, but how?  We ended up sending each soldier a gift certificate for Tim Horton's in Kandahar.  Our hope was that when the guys enjoyed a coffee and donut on us they would remember that we are thinking of them and praying for their personal safety and the success of their mission.  Since then we have sent messages tucked into cards with "County" scenes.  These small gestures don't begin to offset the tragedy of yet another ramp ceremony, but we hope that this group of Canadian soldiers know how much we appreciate what they are trying to accomplish - bringing peace and security to Afghanistan so reconstruction will be possible for the Afghan people.
    Our support of our soldiers made us want to learn more about why they are in Afghanistan in the first place and what life is like now for the average Afghan citizen.  The more we researched, the more we felt compelled to do something to help.  Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world.  Life has improved somewhat since the fall of the Taliban, but it is still very grim for most people, particularly women and girls.  In many areas Afghan religious and cultural values have been completely twisted for political reasons, creating terrible hardship.  Women are often the target, sometimes being denied even the most basic human rights such as health care.  Educational opportunities are scarce or non-existent for many women and girls who are often treated like chattels. Suicide by self immolation is not uncommon as a means of escape from the desperation of unrelenting abuse and oppression.  At great personal risk, many brave Afghan men and women are struggling to change this inequity.  We wanted to support them.We held a couple of events at St. Philip's to raise awareness and some money, but we wanted to spread the word farther so we began planing a public fund raiser.
    On October 15 the parish hosted an evening at St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church in Picton to raise awareness about the plight of the Afghan people and to raise funds on behalf of "Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan".  This organization was founded in the late '90's in response to articles written by Canadian, Sally Armstrong, who was one of the first journalists to report, first hand, on the hideous reality for Afghan women under Taliban rule.  Horrified and incensed a small group of Calgary women banded together determined to reach out to those women. The CW4WA web site describes their activities as follows: "Funds received from Canadian donors are directed to programs in Afghanistan aimed at providing higher quality education, particularly for Afghan women and girls.  Our projects in Afghanistan are managed mainly by Afghan women’s grassroots organizations and monitored and evaluated by our Kabul office and board of directors. The projects share the goals of assisting Afghan women in their struggles to end their oppression, to improve conditions of human rights, and to contribute as active members in Afghan society."
   As October 15 drew nearer, we had the usual jitters about whether anyone would turn up.  Ticket sales seemed slow in spite of the wide spread publicity we organized through local churches, posters, newspapers, radio and TV.  Our guest speaker, Linda Middaugh, was coming from "Canadians in Support of Afghan Women" (CSAW), an Oakville affiliate of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.  Ann Galioto, also of the Oakville group, was bringing books and Afghan made crafts for sale, and a display of books on Afghanistan was being made available courtesy of Books & Company in Picton. Then there were all those fabulous desserts planned by members of St. John's and St. Philip's.
    People began to file into the hall close to 6:30 and they just kept coming.  We had to set up extra chairs to accommodate them.  The Rev. Lynn Donovan of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church opened the evening with prayer.  This was followed by the hauntingly compelling music of Jeanette Arsenault and her daughter, Katie Shannon.  They set the mood with two wonderful songs one of which told of the 60 million girls in our world who cannot go to school.
    Committed and passionate about her cause, guest speaker, Linda Middaugh, gave a PowerPoint presentation documenting the great need in Afghanistan, but also focusing on the progress being made through organizations like CW4WA  Since it's  beginning this organization has raised over $2 million for it's Afghan partners.  In addition to training Afghan teachers, paying their salaries, and providing educational resources, CW4WA has funded an orphanage, and is trying to rebuild Afghan libraries destroyed in the violence of recent history.  In the Oakville area alone, CSAW raised over $100,000 to build a 12 room school in a remote village outside of Jalalabad.  The school opened in January of 2009, and CSAW is now in the process of raising more funds to furnish it and provide books.  Underlining the importance of the work being done, Linda quoted Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General, United Nations "There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women."
    Many people came together to make this event happen.  Some, who were not able to be there in person, sent monetary gifts and two inspiring donations were made at the event itself. High School student, Katie Shannon, had been saving her money since childhood, waiting for the right cause.  When she heard about this event and the work of CW4WA not only did she agree to share her musical gifts with us, she also knew she had found the cause which she wanted to support. Katie presented Linda Middaugh with a cheque for $400.  McKenzie Ellis completed the County Marathon at the beginning of October. Family and friends had sponsored her for a total of $310. McKenzie donated her sponsorship money to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, and her generosity inspired a lady in the audience to give a further donation in her name.  More donations have come in since. 
    By the time The Rev. Richard Pitcher closed the evening in prayer, the event had raised $5,000 for education in Afghanistan.  We couldn't believe it.  The most outstanding thing of all, however, was how our community came together and gave from the heart.  A unique spirit pervaded the room that evening, touching all those present. You could feel it!  People mentioned it although it was difficult to describe or put a name to.  It touched the hearts of all those present, creating an enthusiasm and unity which was quite extraordinary.
    We are called by our saviour Jesus Christ to love one another. As we treat each other so we treat him. (Matthew 25:40)  The people of Afghanistan are God's children, and they are suffering. Surely we, who have so much, are called to share with those who have too little. We are just a small parish with no particular wealth or connections.  It took a lot of community involvement, both within and outside of our parish, to make this event succeed.  It happened with love, with enthusiasm, and with joy. And what of that incredibly powerful feeling we all experienced that evening?  Truly the Holy Spirit, the best connection of all, was there, and with that kind of help everything is possible. Thanks be to God!
Paula and Fran- St. Philip's, Milford

July/Aug

Flying Kites for the Women and Girls of Afghanistan
By Marian Dodds

Unsure about how to mark my 60th birthday in June inspiration struck as I read the chapter about the CW4WAfghan projects in Sally Armstrong’s book Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots. Yes, I decided, this is the best way to celebrate my “decade shift”. Having started my career as a Home Economics teacher I’ve always had a passion for cooking and entertaining and the phrase  “breaking bread for women” had instantly resonated with me when I read about it in a newspaper article. Years before I had made a huge banner for my classroom with the motto “Knead Love Into the Bread You Bake”. I thought back to a few years ago when, inspired by the article on Breaking Bread for Women, three of us hosted an “Afghan Inspired Feast” for women on our school staff for International Women’s Day. In our invitations we had offered 3 RSVP options:

  1. I will be there!Kites
  2. Sorry cannot make it
  3. I cannot make it but I want to donate.

To our surprise this invitation migrated to other schools and cheques kept arriving. All told 24 women came for dinner and over 40 donated! People still talk about the feast and this fundraising project.
 
I decided this birthday would be a great opportunity for me to gift my friends with another Afghan Inspired Feast and enable them to donate in lieu of birthday gifts. Party planning began in earnest. A graphic designer friend created beautiful invitations. My sister Kat offered to host the party at her funky lofty place in Vancouver’s Chinatown. A professional DJ friend agreed to provide the music. Another friend, Carol, agreed to be the treasurer and accept donations, freeing me up to serve food and mingle. Kat’s place was at one time, we think, a Chinatown Tea House and its storefront window called out for a display.
 
I decided that kites would be appropriate since kites are such a symbol of creativity and joy and are part of Afghan culture. Images of women reaching for the sky and the old quote ‘Women Hold up Half the Sky’ came to me as I searched out kites in Chinatown shops. I was pleased to find simple tissue paper kites in red and white. My talented friend Ulla agreed to paint them to suit the theme. Looking over the CW4WAfghan materials she was struck by the visual impact of the shawls the women and girls often wear loosely wrapped around their heads and shoulders and from there she created one image of a girl with a book to symbolize education and the second image of a woman with the equality symbol.
 
Thanks to the generosity of my friends and family I was able to celebrate my next decade in the way that makes me happiest -- with tasty food, good music and a wonderful ambiance coupled with generous donations.
 
It was a deeply satisfying celebration to launch me into my next decade of local and global involvement for a more socially just world.

Jun

Last Tues evening, 41 women from the Dartmouth-Halifax area of NS gathered for a BreakingBread event. What a marvelous time we had; the meal was fabulous, the company even more so! When a few friends and I began planning this event, we realized that many people in our area had never heard of CW4WAfghan. We then decided to host the event, not only to raise money for and awareness of educational projects in Afghanistan, but also to raise the profile of your organization. I invited 7 women to each invite 5 more to join us for the evening, and to draw their invitees from the broader community than from our mutual friends. The result was a splendid mix of amazing women from such diverse groups. Our hope is that they are now inspired to host similar events, drawing form their circule of friends. The meal was provided by the 8 of us who planned the evening. Each person attending was asked to donate at least $20--many gave more. As I mentioned, 41 attended and 3 more who were unable to come, sent along donations to add to the rest Following dinner and dessert, we heard from an Afghan woman who has lived in Halifax since 1998, following an escape with her three children through the mountains to Pakistan. She is a former ESL student of one of our planners...Her story was both heart-breaking and heart-warming. She actually thanked us for giving her the opporutnity to help her "sisters who remain in Afghanistan" by telling her story. Enclosed are several personal cheques, and a money order for the cash donated, all totalling $1280 which we received that evening. We are excited to know it will be used in such worthwile and vital ways. If the level of inspirtaqtion and goodwill we felt that evening is any indicaqtion, I am sure you will soon be receiving addtional funding from women in Nova Scotia!
Frances, Dartmouth

[Editor's note: The following email was sent to guests after a recent Calgary Breaking Bread] Thank you so much for coming last night and for your contributions to help educate Afghanistan women and children. For those of you who could not make it but still contributed, thank you very much for making an effort and helping with the cause! I am thrilled to say that we exceeded our goal and will be providing more than 1 year's salary support for 2 teachers!!!! We will be contributing a total of$1875.00 to CW4WAfghan...It was wonderful spending time with such a vibrant, intelligent, caring group of women and a true pleasure having you in my home. Thank you all for coming and please let me know if you would be interested in Jocelyn and I hosting another event next year.
Anita, Calgary

May

1st message via FACEBOOK: Emma sent a message to the members of Mother/Daughter/Friends Fundraiser for Afghan Women.  Over the past two weeks the headlines from Afghanistan have grown increasingly more disturbing. From the passing of sharia laws which force women to have sex, to the murder of female leaders, to the stoning of protesters in the street-- there is a real push against women's rights happening right now. There is a strong irony to this as we have just lost another one of our brave young women soldiers as she was there to support a government that is tolerating these rights abuses. I believe that it is important to reach out to the brave souls who stand and protest the laws that enslave them. All in the face of having stones thrown at them and being called whores.

I am going to be hosting a fundraiser for the organization Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. www.w4wafghan.ca  The group advocates for women's rights in Afghanistan and focuses it efforts on increasing the number of female educators in Afghanistan.  We can help educate women and girls who would otherwise have little to no access to education.

As the headlines grow more and more grim for Afghan women I feel that it is important for us not only to take a stand in supporting the women who bravely protest in the streets of Kabul but also to make sure that our daughters are made aware of the plight of girls who live under such regimes. Let's help these mothers and daughters in Afghanistan by raising both awareness in future generations but also by providing some funding for education.

The plan is to have a very simple function where mothers and daughters gather to raise money by selling services they can offer. For example, our daughters can set up a nail painting bar, (not something that would be allowed to happen in Afghanistan), a hairdressing station, they can sell baked goods or pieces of art, older girls can offer babysitting services. The goal is for the girls to raise the money and feel empowered and connected. I am hoping to host this event June 2 at my place (unless someone with a much larger house wants to co-host -just let me know). I am asking that you talk to your daughters about the fact that women in Afghanistan are denied some of their basic human rights (no education, married to old men who are your father's friends, no access to decent health care, burkas, inability to leave the house without a man's permission, assignations of female leaders and general intimidation) and ask them if they would like to join us on June 2 from 5 to 8pm to raise money for girls half-way around the world.

If you don't have a daughter but would love to join us in supporting the cause please do come! If your daughters or you have any other suggestions as to ways to raise money please feel free to contact me! More details of the event shall follow!  Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Emma, Calgary

2nd message via FACEBOOK: Emma sent a message to the members of Mother/Daughter/Friends Fundraiser for Afghan Women.

Thank you so much to all of you who were able to make it last night. I was such a gorgeous evening and the kids were really on fire! The manicures and Pedicures were fantastic, the hair dressing station was steady all night. Snow cones, popcorn, wilding children and lots of great friends together in support of an incredibly important cause. Elaine: thank you for whipping up an entrepreneurial frenzy, Rhonda: thank you for all your help and photos, Kirsten: thanks for helping me in every way possible and for your amazing banner, Sonya: was the popcorn queen, the list goes on....
Human Rights violations are rampant in this world, especially against women and girls. I am so grateful that you were able to make it to show your support and help our girls understand how blessed we are and what duty come with such a blessing. ..Much love and devotion,
Emma, Calgary

April

Breaking Bread, Calgary, 30 April 2009:  It will come as a surprise to no one that the guest speaker on Thursday night, the 30th of April, was absolutely compelling and engrossing. And everyone would agree that it takes some doing to quiet a roomful of 225 people who have just had drinks and tapas, but when human rights activist, film maker and author, Sally Armstrong, started to speak you could have heard a pin drop.  She has a wonderful ability to speak as if she were in an intimate conversation with you across a glass of wine, and throughout the course of her speech about the plight of the women and girls of Afghanistan, it was quite possible to laugh and cry, and impossible not to feel inspired.
     Sally Armstrong is the author of two best-selling books focused on Afghan women: Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan (2002) and most recently, Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan’s Women. Pages on Kensington, a locally-owned Calgary bookstore, sold 60 copies of the latter, and Ms. Armstrong was happy to sign copies while people enjoyed yummy cupcakes and coffee.
     For the second year in a row, Irene MacDonald and her committee held their annual Breaking Bread event at the Triwood Community Centre in northwest Calgary and raised $25,000 in donations with $2,663 in Afghan product sales.   Remarkably, every penny donated by attendees will go to Afghanistan, thanks to the donations of our corporate sponsors, Safeway and Newalta Corporation, and the wonderful generosity of individuals and businesses who donated their time, talents and monetary contributions.
     Among special guests attending this evening were Ash Khan and his wife, Derry.  Mr Khan, a retired engineer from Calgary, is recently back from Afghanistan after building a 12-classroom school for up to 1,000 children in the Jalalabad area. Also attending were Ana Browne and Kate Dumaine, elementary students from Dr. E.W. Coffin School, who presented CW4WAfghan's executive director, Janice Eisenhauer with $740.00 from the third and fourth grade split classes.Irene's Breaking Bread
     The Breaking Bread event sold out in less than 48 hours this year, which is certainly a huge endorsement that there is continuing awareness and sensitivity to the ongoing issues of the female population of Afghanistan.
Sharon Boyle, Calgary

Sharon Boyle,
Irene MacDonald
and Pam Rannelli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"Education is my religion. It not only represents my career of choice, it represents a set of beliefs which I value; it is my best hope for my children and all children to live better lives and to contribute to the betterment of all humanity."

 

The statement above is displayed on the opening page of my professional portfolio as a teacher.  Based on my belief statement I pursue opportunities to support education as the best strategy for change, in particular for those who are disenfranchised and who are children. 
It was a student from Afghanistan, who I taught more than ten years ago who introduced me to that country’s crisis and in particular, her lack of opportunities for education.  I cannot have my eyes opened and then force them shut.  I vowed to help her with her goals here in Canada in addition to helping with the global issue of what was going on in Afghanistan.  I attended my first W4W meeting in about 1999 or 2000-(there were five of us in Janice’s living room-how grass-roots is that?)  I was so impressed with the founders and their commitment to begin tough work on behalf of girls and women in Afghanistan that I knew I had to connect my former student with their work.  W4W gave her great opportunities, she has given back, and she maintains her membership and volunteer work. 
I am so fortunate to continue my support of this great organization’s initiatives and my friendship with my ex-student.
My ex-student is now an extremely well-educated young woman (YAHOO!) primarily due to her own amazing personal characteristics, and additionally because of the opportunities provided by this country, our educational system, and organizations like W4W. She is an example of why we, in our privileged status as teachers in Canada, need to hear our students’ stories, and respond to the best of our ability to the moral and ethical call for education for all.
I am proud to have gathered teachers in my home to raise money for heroic teachers in another country who are so less fortunate and where education is truly the only hope.  We held a Breaking Bread event and raised over 800$ for teachers in Afghanistan.
Thank you W4W and my ex-student, Khatera for providing me and my colleagues the opportunity to inform ourselves, to gather, and to have a specific goal/action in our moral responsibility to contribute to other places, other teachers, and other students.
Liz, Calgary

March

An informal group of Ottawa women once again held a party to raise funds for the education of women and girls in Afghanistan. I hold the party at my house, but I could not do it without the help of my 'party team' and the wonderful generosity of so many Ottawa women. We are proud to enclose cheques for CW4WA in the total amount of $4,705 [!!!] Our cheques are to support the Excel-erate program for training teachers. This year, we understand that CIDA will match our funds with $3 for every dollar that we raise. We hope that this money will help provide more teacher learning and imporve the education available to all children, but especially girls...Our party was loud, crowded and chaotic, but we all had fun. It was an opportunity to catch-up with old friends and to make some new ones. Some women could not come to the party, due to other commitments or travel, but sent their cheques anyway. A number of women recruited their friends to come to the party and donate. I am proud of all the women who participated in this project and I know they will take satisfaction in knowing that 100% of their donation will help women and girls in Afghanistan.
Nancy, Ottawa

Enclosed please find the donations given at my Breaking Bread potluck dinner last month. Thirty-seven women gathered together in my son and daughter-in-law's home to share a potluck dinner, enjoy the singing of two young women who volunteered to sing for their supper" and join in a sing-along around the piano. I did provide about ten minutes of welcomes, thanks, and information about the program and had a friend read a passage from BITTER ROOTS, TENDER SHOOTS. It was the passage about watching the kids come to school on opening day in 2002 after five years of Taliban rule. That seemed to add to the wonderful energy level palpable in the room! We invited an Afghan women and her 10-year-old daughter to attend and when she was saying good-bye she hugged me and said, "I love you for doing this and I am so happy for my daughter to see me so happy." She has been in Canada for 7 years. For me this was the hit of the evening! My husband, son and the husband of a friend served drinks, looked after putting the food out and doing the dishes, leaving me and the guests lots of time to socialize. All in all we raised $2885 and it was a wonderful experience--a little idea that grew and I thank you for your support in encouraging me!
Bonny, London

Please click HERE for Table Talk 2002-2008.

For further information, please call 403 244-5625 or email BreakingBread@CW4WAfghan.ca

Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
PO Box 86016, Marda Loop, Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2T 6B7

t: 1 (403) 244-5625
e: community@cw4wafghan.ca

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