Table Talk 2002 to 2008
Hello Donors: Well, normally those of us volunteers at CW4WAfghan look at the summer months as a bit of a break from the busy months of processing donations. The spring is usually the favoured period for our Breaking Bread donors and they keep us hopping...happily! This year, Barb (the volunteer who records all your fabulous cheques) tells me the mailbox is jammed full each week. It is s good thing she has had her vacation and is very excited to be wading through all the mail and equally happy to tally up the monthly reports. THANK YOU EVERYONE for this critically important on-going help to our work. We are forever challenged in how to best let you know our appreciation. The teachers in Afghanistan are, of course, the ones to benefit immediately, but this is a collaborative and collective initiative. We are all benefitting greatly and by the sounds of your letters, you value this as much as we do and the rewards are plentiful to you and your guests. Warm regards and enjoy your summer...perhaps having a Breaking Bread lunch on your patio with friends. Most sincerely
Janice (volunteer Executive Director, Founding Member, Calgay, AB
THANKS to the Werklund Foundation for a recent donation that will support more than 2 teachers this coming year. I asked that they tell you, our donors, more about their wonderful programmes in support of youth...read on...
Since 2006, the Werklund Foundation has been offering world-class leadership training to young people so they can discover the personal confidence, character, and passion that leads to success. Were focusing on giving young people opportunities to discover their own strengths and live with a sense of purpose and passion in life. Our foundation is built on the business philosophy of Dave Werklund: that real success comes from a commitment to basic principles: principles like living with integrity, respect and concern for others. At the Werklund Foundation we are dedicated to ensuring the success of today's youth by providing them with the inspiration to make a difference in their lives, and ultimately, the world. It is our desire to ignite the potential of youth and support them in both realizing their dreams as well as pursuing them. We will create a major cultural shift where people are comfortable in their own skin, aware of who they really are, and as a result, are able to build a strong sense of community and respect for one another, taking ownership of their lives and responsibility for their own actions. For further details, see Website: www.werklundfoundation.org.
Werklund Foundation, Calgary, AB
On Monday, June 2, 2008 Irene MacDonald was invited to attend a presentation at Dr. Oakley school to receive a donation toward her Breaking Bread dinner which was held earlier this spring. The students in Krista Smart's grade 5/6 class presented her with a cheque for $315. The class had recently finished reading one of the Deb Ellis novels and felt a need to do something to help the children of Afghanistan. Through their teacher they learned about Irene's Breaking Bread event and decided to hold a bake sale at the school to raise funds to assist students in Afghanistan. To quote the students " it was easy and we had fun". Many thanks to the Dr. Oakley students from Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
Enclosed are cheques for $975 raised at a pot luck for a teachers salary in Afghanistan. As always, it was a wonderful event Breaking Bread and a pleasure to help our sisters in Afghanistan. Most of those attending are members of Voice of Women, a long standing Peace and Justice organization. Best wishes, thank you for being there.
Anna Lou, Toronto, ON
My friend and I held a Breaking Bread potluck on Saturday April 19, 2008. Approximately 16 women were present. We also had a raffle table. Some women who could not make it that night donated cheques. Our grand total for that night is $1125! We are having a hamburger/hot-dog fry and bake sale at an annual garage sale. We will also have another raffle table.
Diann and Rochinna, Saskatoon, SK
In April, we held our Breaking Bread evening, now an annual event. Many of those in attendance work in the field of education. In addition, each guest was invited to bring a friend, neighbour, relative, etc., and this always adds to our evening. We customized our Breaking Bread event, serving coffee and dessert instead. We also did something new this year, in that we looked at the Canadian Students as Global Citizens kit, and played the Human Rights game inside. We got an update about projects, increased our awareness, caught up with old friends and met new ones, all while raising money for teachers salaries in Afghanistan. Another very positive outcome was that some people asked how to host their own events. More Breaking Bread dinners equals more teachers teaching equals more kids in school...success any way you look at it.
Cindy, Barb and Heather, Calgary, AB
Last Saturday night, 20 women got together and enjoyed an evening of food, drink and camaraderie while raising funds for CW4WAfghan. We surpassed our goal!! Thank you for the work you do in raising awareness to an issue we all believe in!
Alice Ann, Kitchener, ON
I am enclosing a cheque for $2,000 which was raised at a potluck luncheon hosted by myself and nine of my co-workers. We were very interested in the concept of raising money for teachers in Afghanistan but also wanted to raise awareness of the issues. Since we all work for a large agency in Surrey, we decided to solicit help and donations from some of our co-workers while also educating us on the need to improve the situation for Afghan women. We work with very generous people and we were quickly able to get enough food together to feed 200 employees. Invitations were then sent out to our work area and participants were asked to pay $7.50 for their lunch. We were able to reach our target of 200 participants and they were offered a variety of donated food including ethnic and western dishes to reflect our diverse group...Our event not only raised money and awareness in your cause but it also gave us a chance to reflect on what we can do to help others. This was a fun and inspirational event for our work division...thanks for your work in helping the Afghan women and for this wonderful fundraising concept.
Kellie, Lydia, Tami, Janice, Carmen, Pam, Trish, Ball, Renae and Adri--Surrey, BC
Ardelle in Toronto raised $1,170 recently for her birthday party. Her invitation included: Help a Teacher Support a Teacher in Afghanistan...please help me celebrate our friendship and my 50th birthday by attending and participating in my fundraiser in support of education for females in Afghanistan. This year I teach two students who up until three years ago lived there and did not receive any formal education. They left behind friends who will never learn how to read or write.
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan is an organization that has successfully helped change such situations. I first learned about this organization during a professional development session I attended two years ago. Sally Armstrong, a former teacher and one of the founders of the magazine Canadian Living, was the keynote speaker...in lieu of any gifts, I would very much appreciate (and value much more) a monetary donation made in support of education for females in Afghanistan...drop in on Saturday for finger foods and refreshments...here are directions for making a donation and a map. My goal is to raise $750 which will cover a teacher salary for ONE year in Afghanistan which is hard to believe!
Ardelle, Toronto, ON
We are a group of four women who organized a Lunch For Learners at my home. This is the fifth lunch we have held and we are pleased to forward to you donations from our 50 guests who together helped to raise $1,560!
Pat, Donna, Mary and Dianne--NewBrunswick
I wanted to let you know how the 'Breaking Bread' Dinner on Friday night went. There were roughly 10 of us girls and it was a big success! The food was great, the company was lovely, and most importantly we exceeded our goal and raised a total of $830.00CAD!! I also had a couple of hockey tickets through my company that we gave away as a draw. Everyone had a great time and were very receptive to the organization and to such an important cause. Hopefully most will be inclined to become members as well. I wanted to thank you very much for providing me with the literature and give away materials...I may have another dinner sometime soon and invite my family members this time. Best Regards and thanks again for your help.
Katie, Calgary, AB
To all the women working for CW4WAfghan, I am happy to report that we have had our second annual fundraising party for women in Afghanistan and have raised a total of $3,900. The party was organized by me at my house, with the crucial help of 4 friends. It was crowded, chaotic and lots of fun. Some women were unable to come to the party but sent a cheque anyway. I am delighted with the enthusiasm and generousity of this group of Ottawa women. This initiative began with the article by Sally Armstrong in The Ontario College of Teachers Professionally Speaking Magazine in November 2006. The challenge to find ...10 women with $75 each...was a wonderful idea. This year we managed to find 50 women...all of whom have given $75. Thank you to all of you for the work you are doing on behalf of Afghan women and girls.
Nancy, Ottawa, ON
Twelve Month 2008 CALENDAR: One Woman’s Journey with Canadian Artist Cheryl Braganza
Canadian artist, Cheryl Braganza generously contributed her stunning artwork and time to help produce the 2008 calendar which was sold by our chapter network to raise funds for teachers' salaries in Afghanistan under the Breaking Bread fundraising project. Each month of the calendar brings a unique and personal message of hope, inspiration and courage and exemplifies Cheryls commitment to the women of Afghanistan. CW4WAfghan wish to extend our sincere appreciation to Cheryl and all those involved in this successful fundraising project in 2007. A total of $4,000 was raised from this initiative.
To learn more about the artist and to purchase her paintings, visit the WEBSITE: www.picturetrail.com/cherylbraganza. Our appreciation also to our CW4WAfghan volunteers and to Heather Pfeifer of Amethyst Publishing (www.amethystpublishing.ca) for her great skills and patience in helping complete this unique and professionally crafted fundraising project.
We at CW4WAfghan were saddened to learn of the recent passing of a long-time Breaking Bread supporter, Rita Ourom, of Vancouver. Rita held a well-attended Breaking Bread event several years ago in Vancouver and had been keenly supporting girls' education in Afghanistan ever since. Board member Lauryn Oates had attended Rita's Breaking Bread event and was in awe of Rita's infectious enthusiasm and her evident ability to mobilize others to the issues she cared about. By only briefing speaking with her, Rita's passion for reading as a former teacher and her dedication to a wide array of volunteer activities immediately came out- she was someone who spoke with action as well as words. Rita's passion for girls' education in Afghanistan was cited in her obituary printed in the Vancouver Sun in December 2007 and her family requested donations in her name be made to CW4WAfghan as one of her preferred organizations. We are very grateful for Rita's support over the years and will well remember her generosity and commitment to the women and girls of Afghanistan.
Stitch By Stitch
From Haida Gwaii to Afghanistan: An Odyssey of Compassion
By Heidi Bevington and Evelyn von Almassy
Evelyn: Last fall I was at the Conference for Women's International Rights and saw some information about ñCanadian Women for Women in Afghanistanî. I read about a project called ñBreaking Breadî: you invite women to a dinner party, ask each to pay $75.00 to raise $750.00 to pay the salary of an Afghan teacher for a year. I put a call out in my column for interested people and Heidi and Lois showed up at with energy, wit and ideas.
Heidi: Evelyn, Lois and I agreed that we would raise $750 to pay the salary of an Afghani teacher but then we had to decide on an event or two that would raise that kind of money. ñWhat about a knit-a-thonî I piped up. ñExcuse me?î asked Evelyn. ñKnitting?î asked Lois. ñYes. I'll sit in a window and knit for 12 hours. Then I'll sew together what I knit and we'll raffle it off. People could donate squares, or come and join me in the window.î It occurred to me that I might feel a bit of circus freak by the third hour. And so the ñKnit-a-Thonî was born. Soon people were stopping me in the grocery line to ask about wool weights, and stitches to the inch, and colour choices, and by the fourth or fifth person it dawned on me that I wasn't going to be knitting alone, not by a long shot.
May 4, 10 am precisely, I sat down on a straight backed chair in the window of On the Rock to begin my knitting marathon. I wasn't alone for long though. Monika from Masset drove down to sit with me for a couple of hours. At last-10 pm arrived - 12 solid hours of knitting! It wasn't so bad though, as I still had the strength to lift a martini to my lips.
Evelyn: This project just flew off the knitting needles of children, men and women. People were so responsive and so generous. Sandra Price sitting on the Royal Chair was an active knitter and repeatedly told people of the project and they threw in loonies, fives, and twenties into her ñdonationsî jar. People from all over the island sent, and continue to send, squares of knitted wool. It is so heart-warming to know that an idea like this can spread like seeds of hope. I have never been to Afghanistan, but this project has brought the country closer to me. When I listen to the news of that country, I listen with a different ear now.
I would like everyone who participated in this project, to send me a digital photo of them. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 13th. The photos will be transferred to fabric so that the children of Afghanistan can see who created the afghan for them. You can also send written words if you wish to go with the afghan. Email them to me by July 13th or to box 921, QC, V0T-1S0. Lauryn Oates, the vice-president of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, is taking our afghan to a community library in Kabul in August. We have reached our goal of $750.00, and are now working towards another $750.00. At Northern Savings the ñEducation for Afghanistanî account remains open for your donations. Special thanks to Su-san Brown for donating several hours to help Heidi prepare and assemble the squares, and to Lois Burkell for her assistance. Thanks to all the generous spirited people of these communities. You made this project happen, stitch by stitch!
Heidi, Evelyn and Lois, Haidi Gwaii, BC
I fervently believe your cause to be a very effective and worthy undertaking. I have no doubt that this movement will be beneficial to the teachers in Afghanistan. Being a teacher myself I sympathize with the struggles that these teachers face on a daily basis. I also realize how lucky I am to be able to teach in a country as great as Canada. I am passing along a donation towards Breaking Bread. I recently had a birthday and instead of gifts a number of people donated money to this cause for which I was very grateful. It is not the full amount for a teachers yearly salary in Afghanistan, however, it is a start. Hopefully our next few get togethers will bring in some more money. Sincerely,
Anita, King City, ON
In our community, it began with a visit from Sally Armstrong to discuss her book VEILED THREAT. During the question-and-answer period that followed, someone in the audience mentioned the Breaking Bread fundraising initiative to support much-needed education in Afghanistan. Then someone else stood up and said, "We can host a dinner here." We celebrated our fifth annual event on Sunday, June 10. Thirty ladies brought a salad or a dessert for a pot luck lunch. First we gathered around the island to enjoy a glass of wine or lemonade, and then around the information table to talk about the critical role of education in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. After a group photograph was taken, we caught up with old friends and made new ones while we enjoyed lunch overlooking the river. Hostesses have already been named for next year's event which is an indication this community's commitment to pay the salary of (at least) one teacher for a year in Afghanistan. I am delighted to inform you that this year our donation will exceed $2,000.00. Elizabeth, Owen Sound, ON
After Sally Armstrong discussed the efforts and importance of Breaking Bread for Women at the Hochkiss Gender Conference, two Millbrook School students asked how they could help Afghan women pursue education too. In the fall of 2007, the school began organizing dinners similar to those of Breaking Bread for Women, giving students the opportunity to help aid the relief financially and have the opportunity to learn more about the unequal rights Afghan women are subjected to. With the help of JEAN DAYS which allow students to be out of dress code by wearing jeans, and the money collected during week long school program in which students cooked and sold food on campus, we are proud to present this organization with a check for $1,564.83. Millbrook School is excited to continue supporting such an important and honorable organization that supports human rights for all.
Millbrook School, NY
May 9th we had four tables of bridge with finger food and wine. Most of the women were retired teachers and principals. We had a great time and everyone was really enthusiastic about the project.
Please find enclosed a cheque for $1,091 from our school in Georgetown, Ontario. This past April, our grade 6 classes completed a Human Rights unit focused on women in Afghanistan. Our students became so inspired; they planned and held a human rights fair in our library. Over 140 students participated in organising the fair. We raised funds, wrote songs, made posters and created pamphlets to raise awareness about the issues facing the people of Afghanistan. At the end of the day, we had raised over $1,000 which we are pleased to donate. We hope this money can help to safeguard human rights and aid the efforts to provide education for women in Afghanistan.
Christine, Grade 6 Teacher
Enclosed please find our donations from our Teachers Association Social Justice Committee. We held a Breaking Bread event including activities (hula, belly, circle dancing, the film Daughers of Afghanistan, students singing Peace songs). It has been an enlightening experience for those of us on the committee, as well as participating teachers, parents and students.
Elizabeth, Prince George, BC
Our book club recently hosted a potluck dinner in support of your Breaking Bread initiative to raise money for teachers salaries for the education of Afghan women and girls. We were inspired to do this after reading Sally Armstrongs book, Veiled Threat - The Hidden Power of the Women in Afghanistan. We came across your website while researching the book for further discussion and felt that this was something we wanted to support. Our dinner was a huge success, enjoyed by all. Please accept our donation of $1270.
Brenda, Cambridge, ON
It is with pleasure and gratitude that I enclose a cheque for $1400 to put towards the work of the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Pleasure because the event we staged to raise the funds, a concert on the eve of International Womens Day, was a wonderful and empowering evening, full of song, and inspiring word. Gratitude because we, and all 240 concert-goers who contributed, are grateful that CW4WAfghan has taken and continues to take such a lead on the grassroots work of peace-building and care in Afghanistan on behalf of all Canadians.
You'll also be glad to know that your excellent website provided us with material to download and copy for distribution to concert attendees. As well, your local chapter provided us with newsletters and bookmarks. With warm best wishes,
In order to introduce human rights to my grade 5 class, I chose Deborah EllisÍ The Breadwinner as my first read-aloud in September. It was a timely choice. Some of my students were very involved with the conflict in Afghanistan and so discussions throughout the novel were lively. They were swept up into the lives of Parvana and her family. So much so, that although I usually do not read sequels to the class, I am now reading ParvanaÍs Journey and will follow with Mud City. As December approached, I wished to address the issue of teacher gift giving that arises each year. When my issue of the College of Teachers magazine arrived, the cover story was Courage in Afghanistan [Sally Armstrong]. As I read the article, I realized that this was the issue I wished to address with regards to Christmas gift giving. Giving a gift of education funding in Afghanistan would be relevant to our grade 5 classroom. I found your organization through the Breaking Bread for Women link in the article. I understood that my class could achieve a level of donations that would make a difference to the children of Afghanistan. Although I am making the donation of $50.00, I would like to make it in the name of my students who contributed nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars to make our donation possible. I am requesting that the gift card for this donation be forwarded to my Grade 5 Class. Thank you for making it possible for us to make a difference in the lives of children in Afghanistan.
Louise, Spencerville, ON
I am a teacher in London, Ontario. I heard of your organization through the Professionally Speaking Magazine for Ontario Teachers. I decided to hold a potluck dinner on March 7, 2007. It was very successful and raised $910 for the funding of a teacher in Afghanistan. I have enclosed the cheques and the money order for the cash donations that were given...The women who attended were genuinely interested and wholeheartedly believe in the work you are doing. I hope to make this an annual event as to continue the work you have started. Thank you so much for the opporunity to be involved in this work. I look forward to hearing more about the efforts and results of this initiative.
Dora, London, ON
Enclosed are a number of cheques totalling a donation of $2,495 to help finance schools for girls in Afghanistan. We are an informal group of Ottawa women who organized a party on Friday in response to the article in the Ontario College of Teachers journal, Professionally Speaking. The challenge to “find 10 women with $75 each” to finance a teacher’s salary was a brilliant way to let us know exactly what to do. When I went looking for 10 women, I found 33 generous and enthusiastic women who are already asking when we will be doing it again. The courageous women teachers in Afghansitan face so many barriers that we are reminded of how lucky we are and we are happy to do what we can to help. Thank you to you and to all the volunteers who are helping women in Afghanistan.
Nancy (Ottawa, ON)
Breaking Bread for Women and Girls in Afghanistan
On Thursday, January 25, 2007, nine students from the Hotel and Restaurant Administration Year 1 program and the Food and Nutrition Management Year 1 program at SIAST Kelsey Campus helped event organizers raise more than $2300 for Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. CW4WAfghan is a volunteer-based non-profit organization and is committed to raising awareness of the urgent need to secure human rights for Afghan women and their families. One of their fundraising initiatives is Breaking Bread dinners hosted by individuals or groups across Canada. The purpose of the Breaking Bread dinners is to raise awareness of the critical role of education in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to raise the $750 needed to pay for the salary of a teacher for one year.
Event organizers, Grace Carney and Laurel Marsh, approached SIAST instructor, Michael van Grondelle, to ask if he and his students would be interested in planning, preparing and serving the dinner. Michael and his students, Jennifer Barth, Brent Scissons, and Tamika Wallin, Emma Cawood, Ashley Harkness, Tara Hretsina, Claire Lawrence, Rebecca Camargo, and Chantale Schmidt enthusiastically agreed to take on the project. In addition Tanya Schell from Hotel and Restaurant Administration Year 2 volunteered to bartend.
The meal was prepared under the direction of Vincent LaPointe, C.C.C. Executive Chef from the Travel Lodge. It was a delicious four-course dinner and included Mantwo Afghan Beef Ravioli Appetizer, Shaftal (mixed green salad with a lemon mint vinaigrette), Chicken Lawand (Curried Chicken Kabob served with yogurt sauce and accompanied with Nann Flat Bread) , and Firnee (traditional Afghan custard served with Khatai cookies). All in attendance raved about the amazing flavours and presentation of the dishes.
The guest speaker, Gwen Bourque, is a SIAST employee who has also been in the military for 14 years. She recently returned from Afghanistan where she worked in the Provincial Reconstruction Team for 7 months as a Civil Military Cooperation Operator. While in the PRT, Gwen worked on many projects, but specialized in school programs as well as women's projects. Event organizers arranged for another speaker (a woman from Afghanistan who is now living in Saskatoon) to answer questions about her experiences in Afghanistan, but unfortunately she was unable to attend because of her child's illness.
Each of the seventy guests in attendance paid $40 for the dinner and $25 of that amount went directly to CW4WAfghan. The goal of raising $750 was easily surpassed because of the high attendance and because of other donations received from people who were unable to attend. In addition, the students donated their gratuity of $210 bringing the total funds raised for CW4WAfghan to $2335. Incredulously this is enough to pay for three teachers in Afghanistan for a whole year!
Front Row: Tamika Wallin, Jenn Barth, Tara Hretsina, Ashley Harkness, Claire Lawrence
Back Row: Mike van Grondelle, Emma Cawood, Brent Scissons, Chantale Schmidt, Vince LaPointe Executive Chef Saskatoon Travelodge Hotel, Laurel Marsh, Grace Carney, Tanya Schell
In late 2006, Canadian author, Sally Armstrong wrote two articles pertaining to the schools funded by CW4WAfghan. Please visit PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING at: www.oct.ca: Courage in Afghanistan and also see The Fierce Women of Afghanistan in Chatelaine Magazine (Nov 2006) by Sally Armstrong. This is an excerpt from the article about her visit to one of our schools:
One of the schools W4W funds is located in an ancient building in the dilapidated city centre of Kabul and is led by Bibi Hajji, a 63 year old grandmother and miracle worker. We collect them from the market. Most have no parents, or they live with a grandparent or on the street, says Hajji, who oversees the education of 147 children. If we don’t teach them here they’ll grow up to be terrorists or thieves and they’ll kill one another. She also provides the children with clothing, hot lunches and medical services. Every single one of these children can read. Each wants to be a doctor, pilot, teacher or president. One 12-year old girl called Tamanna, which means hope, tells me she likes math class best. But then she says in her street-smart voice, Lunctime is good, too!
Please find enclosed two checks totalling $466 as a donation for the Women in Afghanistan. Last summer, three female students and three female faculty from Gould attended the “Independent School Gender Project” conference at Hotchkiss School in Conneticut. We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear Sally Armstrong speak and were very touched and moved by her words, her spirit, and her activism. We found out about your organization, the Breaing Bread project, and the wonderful power of women for women--We came back to school with the promise we would raise awareness and raise some money to send -- having been true to our promise, please accept our humble gift.
Pat, Bethel Maine USA
Please accept the enclosed donations from the Deep Cove Bookies. We are a group of women ...who have met as a book club for almost 40 years. Each month brings a different book for us to explore and our Christmas book, is always a work of children's literature. This year we chose Deborah Ellis’ books Parvanas Journe and The Breadwinner. We were inspired by Ms. Ellis to make a donation to your organization, because no matter what any of us as individuals feel about Canada’s participation in the conflict in Afghanistan, we all believe that Afghan women, free to read and write are a powerful tool for peace in that country.
Kathy, North Saanich, BC
Enclosed are the funds raised at our second Breaking Bread dinner. Though fewer women were able to attend this year, we had a wonderful time together and shared some great conversation. Many of us are very concerned about the changing nature of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan and the increasing focus on waging war rather than building peace and democracy. Thank you for your effort to provide an analysis that does not engage in a simplistic approach of either IN or OUT. And thank you for continuing to remind us about the danger to women and children if the Taliban is allowed to play a significant role in the governance of the country. Please let me know if there are specific ways that we can continue to assist your work other than through our annual dinner.
Jean, Roberts Creek, BC
The Race for Women in Afghanistan
Last winter, I came up with the idea of organizing a mountain bike race to raise money for the education of women in Afghanistan after going to a winter camp out by Fernie. While I was there I met an immigrant family from Afghanistan who had 12 kids. The children came from 4 different families whose parents had been killed in the ongoing wars. Half of the children were girls and I got to spend a bit of time with them in the dorms. They had been living in Canada and learning English for a year. I found that amazing because they spoke English almost fluently. In the dorms the girls were so excited to keep learning, they brought their school supplies to camp and were practicing reading and writing in the dorms. In Afghanistan, these girls did not learn to read and write. I thought that it was extremely fortunate that these girls were able to come to Canada and have a chance at a new life. Yet, in Afghanistan there are still thousands of women and girls who will not get that chance.
The Race for Women in Afghanistan was held on June 18th, in Terwillegar Park in Edmonton. It took place in the same venue as the Down-and-Dirty-Mountain-Bike-Race in order to save money on registration fees and a facility permit. T-shirts were sold in a tent with information packages and the latest issue of the CW4W newsletter. When the race was finished, the people who placed on the podium (the top 3 finishers) were given books such as The Breadwinner, and Mud City by Deborah Ellis.
Organizing the race was an eye-opening experience because I was able to raise awareness in my community for Afghan women and girls. Unfortunately, this summer I do not think I will be able to organize a second Race for Women in Afghanistan, because I am in grade 12 and school and sports are demanding all of my time. The Race for Women in Afghanistan was a memorable event and I hope others will look back at this race and be inspired to raise awareness as well. Fundraising is not always easy, but it is possible and it will always be appreciated.
Winners of Edmonton Mtn Bike Race receiving ribbons and Deb Ellis' Books
Trip to Kelowna and Salmon Arm
By Janis Rapcuk, CW4WAfghan volunteer Calgary Chapter
On September 27th to September 29th, 2006 Sally Armstrong and I were guests of the Kelowna and Salmon Arm Rotary clubs. They had invited Sally to come give interviews and talks concerning Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. I was along to introduce Sally, to talk about Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Breaking Bread, hand out literature, and sell products.
The trip was successful on all fronts with over $2500.00 in product sales, the possibility of a new chapter starting up in Kelowna, major money raised for teacher's salaries, and wide exposure for CW4WA. It was a very busy time with a CBC radio interview, a one-hour radio talk show, a newspaper interview, a television interview, a talk at the Okanagan College, and a talk at the Creekside Theatre-that was all done on the Wednesday. The next morning I spoke to the Rotary club breakfast meeting, then Sally and I were driven to Salmon Arm where Sally spoke to a high school class, and then in the evening there was a large turnout (over 200) at the local church for a final event. The next morning Sally and I flew to Calgary where we were attending the CW4WAfghan Conference and Annual General Meeting.
The Kelowna and Salmon Arm Rotary clubs and organizers were wonderful. They chauffeured us from event to event, arranged meals in private homes, I was put up in member's homes, and the hospitality and welcome were very genuine. To top it all off the weather and scenery were exceptional.
Sally's talks were very well received and helped to clarify for the listeners Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. Some of the comments we received afterwards and many of the questions fielded by Sally showed the audiences are very concerned about what is happening and Sally did an exceptional job of answering these concerns. One person commented that they had done a 180-degree turn on their thinking after listening to Sally, plus we have one bright, articulate young girl (9 years old) who is fundraising to sponsor a teacher's salary. This type of discussion and feedback is very positive and encouraging.
Peace on earth,
Hello my name is Alaina and I am 9 years old. I went to the with my Mom on Sept. 27th to listen to Sally Armstrong . She told stories about the terrible things that happen to little girls in Afghanistan. I was so moved. I never knew about how terrible the little girls were treated. I couldn't believe there were little girls in Afghanistan that didn't get treated like me and my friends. I could picture in my head a place where there were kids like me but instead of happiness it was pain. I asked Sally at the end if there was ever peace in Afghanistan and she said sometimes the Country was peaceful, but if we all worked together we could educate people and build a better place. On the way home with my Mom, my Mom said she was grateful to have the ability to drive and show her face without a veil. We don't know how lucky we are. After she said that, this idea popped into my head.
Sally said, the worse thing we can do is not do anything. I want to make a difference. I want to do something- even if it's small, at least I made a difference. I am going to raise $750.00 to pay for 1 year of a teacher's work to educate girls like me. I am calling myself "little women for little women" I hope that's ok with you. I have already worked with one of my teachers about raising money through my school by selling doughnuts and recycling. My main idea is to have a silent auction. I hope to have the auction at the potluck dinner in our community on Nov. 3rd. I am going to make a bridge of peace.
Dear W4W afghanistan;
We have been raising money for a teacher for Afghanistan in our grade 5 class. We are proud of what we achieved with the help of our families, Centennial students, school staff, friends, and teachers. We were reading about a girl in Afghanistan (Parvana) and we decided we wanted to help. We had bake sales, raffles, a jelly bean contest, worked Bingo's, had pyjama day, and a poster draw to raise money. As well, we donated our own money. It was our choice to do this instead of a year end school trip. We hope our donation helps some children to learn.
From your fellow Canadians: Andreas, Neil, Ashley, Shane, Crystal, Hunter, Thomas, Andrew, Paramoor, Jacob, Drake, Sereena, Katie, Ryan, Natasha, Cassandra, Lucas, Justin, Kristyn, Max, Jordan, Dakota, Zach, Megan, Brandon, Justin, Jax and Mrs. Gates and Ms. Brooks.
Shaima doing a fine henna application at tea time with women in Kandahar
Photo by Lauryn Oates
Last evening we held a retirement party for a fellow ESL teacher and collected money to help sponsor a teacher in Afghanistan. Thank you,
Peggy, Calgary, AB
To Canadian Women for Women, æI have read 3 books by Deborah Ellis (a Canadian author) her books are about real afghan girls and women who are bothered by the Taliban by either losing their jobs or being banned from having an education. I will always remember those books because in some parts I cried, got scared or got worried about the characters. I felt like I was right there in the sorrow and pain that real young afghan children have to go through. Right after I had finished reading the 3 book series, my mom had found your ad in a MacLean’s magazine to donate money to Afghanistan. She gave it to me and I was happy to donate money to Afghan women because I have everything I need and they have nothing. æI thank Deborah Ellis because her books have taught me to be grateful for what I have and to be aware that children my age have almost nothing. I would have never known anything about suffering afghan women if it werenÍt for those books. I encourage other girls my age to read these books hoping they will donate too. æSincerely, An 11 year old Canadian girl,
Kirsten Douglas, Nelson, BC
The University Women's Club has just had the second of three planned Breaking Bread Potluck Dinners. I first heard of the project as a meeting of the Canadian Federation of University Women and received documentation from our regional Director. Your represenative, Erin McCaughan also brought some background material...best wishes for increasing support for the education of Afghan women and girls.
Judith, Toronto, ON
Dear Fundraisers: I enclose a contribution from University Women’s Club from 34 women totalling $1,210 raised at pot luck dinners...we have now had pot luck dinners for four years and I hope we can continue to support you in future years....
I am very happy to enclose cheques totalling $1340 which we raised at a recent Breaking Bread potluck supper hosted by Terrye and myself. Lauryn Oates was here and gave her presentation to a large group of very inspired women. A list of donors and their addrsses is attached for tax receipts. Thank you so much for everything your organization does for the women of Afghanistan. Wishing you the very best,
Daphne, (Montreal, QC.)
It is with great pleasure that I submit to you a donation of $430 towards teachers salaries in Afghanistan. The money was raised by students from the St. Thomas High School--Artists for Peace group. These young artists have been meeting on a regular basis to create jewelry, mosaics, stained glass and miniature Zen gardens which they sell to the school community in order to raise money for specific causes. This year the students wished to donate money to help educate young girls in Afghanistan. It has been a wonderful experience to work with these students and to watch their commitment to helping others.
Anne (Pointe-Claire, QC)
The third annual River East Teacher’s Pot Luck was held on May 4, 2006. Mariam Omar (CW4WAfghan Wpg Rep) was our guest and spoke to all of us about the plight of female education in Afghanistan. I am hapy to report that we raised $1455. I am enclosing the lists and cheques for the above amount. Can’t wait for next year!
Marilyn, Wpg, MB
...LUNCH FOR LEARNERS...After hearing Sally Armstrong, author and advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan, speak in Hampton, NB in 2002, we decided to host a luncheon for 30 women to raise funds to pay the salary of one teacher for one year in Afghanistan. THIS IS OUR FOURTH ANNUAL “Lunch for Learners”. Through the generosity of this community in 2005, we were able to send over $1800 to the Rights & Democracy group to support education for the young women of Afghanistan. Many readers may be aware that the Red Cross Association in New Brunswick recently honoured Sally Armstrong for her humanitarian work both abroad and at home. We invited guests to attend this luncheon, meet old friends , make new ones and to bring along a cheque for $25, made payable to Rights & Democracy, which issues income tax receipts for all donations of $25 or more. A total of $2,175 was raised for teachers salaries!
Donna, Pat & Mary, Saint John, NB
Seventeen people converged at a downtown condo on Saturday, May 13, for Regina's first-ever Breaking Bread/Afghan evening. The evening included a potluck and served as an information night regarding the Regina Chapter of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. The highlight of the event, outside of the wonderful desserts created by Mrs. Eileen Konkin, was the guest speaker Safia. Safia was born in Kabul and trained there as a medical doctor. She, her husband and two daughters immigrated to Canada five years ago, where she gave birth to her third daughter. Safia enlightened the crowd on what life was like growing up in Afghanistan, as well as the type of life her mother endured - married at the age of 12 to her father who was nearly three times her age.
Safia and her three girls journeyed to Afghanistan this past March. She spoke about the types of conditions women and children currently live under, including their extended family members who still live there. There are many problems that Afghan women must contend with today, including limited access to education, job opportunities and medical treatment. All in all, it was a wonderful, informative evening - full of energy, interesting stories and hope.
Angela, Regina, SK
Our group raised $4300! It was a very successful and interesting evening and I think at least 2 of the guests are going to host their own dinners. I am so happy to be a small part of this very important Canadian tradition. I can see this idea mutating and continuing as more and more women feel empowered by being able to do something that has a huge impact. Some women were curious to know if there was any way of getting more feedback about the results of this effort and so when I write them each a personal thank you card I shall give them as much website information as I can. Cheers,
Jo, Sidney, BC
We held our third annual Breaking Bread dinner. What a success! We made approximately $5700 with 46 women in attendance, which far exceeded the goal we had set for ourselves. A special mention goes to Mrs. Clarke's grade five class at Holy Spirit School in Cochrane who collected $81 as part of their Lenten project. We contribute this success to a number of factors that were not present in the previous dinners. In the past we had pot luck and found that there was far too much food and also that some people who donated did not attend as they were not interested in the ñpot luckî aspect. Since we were four organizing the event, we decided to prepare the food ourselves. The night before the event we had a ñcooking beeî which was, for us, part of the excitement of organizing the event. Another factor that we believe helped was the presence of Canadian troops in Kandahar. People were much more aware when we approached them to participate than they were in the past We also knew of a Calgary woman who is presently working in Afghanistan for an NGO and many of the women present knew her or her family. This added a more personal dimension to the event. During the evening we had Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan representatives, Judy Miyashiro and Janet Crosbie speak to what the organization has accomplished in the last decade and we had two films available for viewing, Kandahar and Daughters of Afghanistan. All of this contributed to the evening's success. I think we met both of our goals which were to create awareness to the plight of women/girls in Afghanistan and to motivate some of the women present to hold their own event so that awareness continues to spread.
Irene, Barb, Pauline and Martine, Calgary, AB
At our recent Breaking Bread for women dinner,25 women gathered. Some had been to the previous dinners, some were new to the occasion. This dinner was different from the others because we were all aware that in some ways things are worse in Afghanistan, not better. In Afghanistan teachers are being killed simply because they are teaching girls. Parents agonize with the decision of allowing their daughters to go to school and thereby putting their lives in danger. So for the Calgary group there was a question of whether we are helping or endangering the lives of the girls by sending money for teachers. Fortunately Janice Eisenhauer was at the dinner and suggested that they had learned that the best course was to follow the voices of the Afghan women who want very much for their daughters to be educated. With this information we were able to celebrate that in only four years through the Breaking Bread for Women dinners $500,000 has been raised. As one teacher costs $750 per year this works out to over 600 who have been employed through the commitment of women across Canada getting together for dinner. This surely is worthy of celebration. And what better way than for more dinners to evolve from this one---I know of at least two which will take place soon.
Marie and Frannie, Calgary AB
Please find enclosed $3320 raised on January 19th, 2006 in Ottawa, Ontario. Myself and two friends organized a wine and cheese event to raise awareness and promote literacy in Afghanistan. Our “Literacy Mingle” was attended by over 50 guests. We were honoured by a moving address from Khorshid Samad, and received local television and radio coverage. Also, thanks to the generosity of the Ottawa Carleton Elementary Teachers Federation, the event surpassed our wildest expectations.
Lillian, Melissa and Jaquie, Ottawa, ON
Hosing the dinner was a great thing for us to do and several of the women asked when we were doing it again! So congrats for getting this wonderful initiative off the ground.
Jean, Roberts Creek, BC
Our bookclub, The Valley Book Club, was made aware of the Breaking Bread for Women in Afghanistan program by one of our members. As many of us have been teachers ourselves at one point in our lives we were particularly interested in the concept of providing a teacher’s salary for one year. At our own version of Breaking Bread we decided to participate...We wish you continued success with the program.
Carol, Kettleby, ON
Our dinner was inspired by a wonderful presentation made in October by your volunteer, Erin. She spoke movingly of the initiatives of CW4WAfghan and her message resonated. Last evening eighteen women - all teachers or retired teachers - came together to help, in one small way, the education of women and girls in Afghanistan. Thirteen members of our club were joined by five friends. For those who had not been at our earlier meeting, and to remind all of us of our purpose, I had made placecards with information garnered from the CW4WAfghan website. After dessert, each person read the information on their card and some discussion was held. This morning, I received e-mails from two of my out-of-town friends who attended: “Sallie wrote - What a lovely evening last night. The concept is terrific--and provides a most enjoyable time with a very specific and important focus to the air of companionship and conversation. Thank you for including me. I am going to keep your literature with a thought to perhaps hosting a similar event up here in the new year. Cherri wrote - it was a great night out. I was gushing to a friend about it today and I think we will hold one in the winter.” Please know that the volunteer work you are doing is inspiring and this contribution is sent to help further your work.
Enclosed are the donations from our Breaking Bread dinner. Nine women came and two sent donations even though they were not able to join us for dinner. We had a lovely evening and we were asked when we were doing this again. These small scale events make so much sense in the lives of busy women....All the best,
Jean and Marj (Roberts Creek, BC)
Please accept this donation of $850 raised during a Breaking Bread for Women pot luck dinner. Eleven women, made up of a group of running friends and neighbours, enjoyed good food, conversation and only one mishap involving a dish of baked beans and a pair of fur trimmed oven mitts. I congratulate you on the work you are doing to educate women and girls in Afghanistan and appreciate the opportunity to participate in this important work.
Laura, Sarnia, ON
Enclosed are the cheques from our 4th pot luck dinner. We have set a goal of $5,000 for 2005. We held two dinners in the spring and helped an attendee from one of those evenings host a third...we think we may be able to pull one more off before the end of the year and get pretty close to our goal. Certainly the situation in Afghanistan continues to be extremely difficult and we are both more interested that ever in doing what we can to raise money and awareness. Again let me say that your organization has done a great job making this fundraising approach simple and fun.
Minda and Karen, Toronto
ChristieÍs 40th party was a great success and she was thrilled with the gift of a teacherÍs salary for a year. She kept saying how good it made her feel and how proud she was that we chose that to celebrate her special birthday.
Hazel, Calgary, AB
Enclosed is a cheque from our second annual BB dinner. Another cheque for $2,155 is from elementary students fundraising: bake sales, bottle drive, etc. (actually it is a grade 7 class).
Bev, Surrey, BC
The dinner held at my home was a very enjoyable evening and one of the local CW4WAfghan members gave a short talk about Afghanistan and Rights & Democarcy.
Dear Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan:
I wish to make a donation of one thousand dollars ($1000) to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan in honour of Sally Armstrong, a woman who has been a long term mentor and source of personal inspiration to me. Last March I attended a "Dinner Party" in Oakville to celebrate International Women's Day 2005. At this inspiring event sponsored by WHAM, Women of Halton Action Movement, I purchased a ticket for a 50/50 draw to support a good cause. To my total astonishment I won! The greatest joy in winning such a sum is to be able to give it to furthering the cause of educating and liberating women. I called Sally immediately as I have closely followed her work in Afghanistan and always wished I could somehow make a difference there. Sally directed me immediately to you. So here is my chance, a little delayed. May I ask that you send a card of thanks to Sally Armstrong along with a copy of this letter explaining the donation. Good Luck with your continued work in Afghanistan. There is no affiliated group in the Niagara area but I would love to be kept informed or your work and any other way that I might be involved. I will continue to buy every 50/50 draw I find! Regards,
Pam, Niagara on the Lake, ON
Editor ’s Note: A BB guest temporarily living in Greece planned a pot luck dinner with her friend in their garden on a lovely spring evening in Athens. Here is an excerpt from her letter: ...we ended up with 40 people and even had to turn down a few. The garden with it’s beautiful Magnolia tree looked lovely. My friend had borrowed tables, had tablecloths, flowers and candles. I made finger foods...every one who came clearly understood what Pot Luck meant and the table was groaning under all the food. As it was an international crowd there were the most tasty international dishes. It was a balmy evening, and everything went perfectly...Entertainment was provided by the Raging Grannies (three of us)...A charming young Afghan male friend said a few words about the importance of education. He had his interrupted by the Taliban, in fact he was imprisoned and tortured by them. Another special guest, Steve, never left the kitchen all evening. He said he wanted to prove that men could be useful!
Philippe and Pamela, Athens, Greece
Once again we held our Breaking Bread for women dinner and I am thrilled to report that, once again, we raised enough support for four teachers. Fewer women attended, so I was anticipating that perhaps we would not reach the mark but we had several donations from people unable to attend. The total raised was $3,125.
This note is to let you know that the teachers in our area of Winnipeg held their second annual (it feels so good to say “second annual” (it feels so good to say “second annual”) Pot Luck Dinner on May 19. Although our attendance and amount raised was slightly down from last year, those present vowed to de better next year. I really think we have a thing going here! One teacher made a donation in her niece’s name...what birthday gift do you get a 19 year old who has everything? The teacher send her niece a card with the website information in it, and that she had made a donation in her name. The young girl called her a week later almost in tears. In her words, it was “the best gift anyone has ever given her”. It is good to see that many of our youth still have their priorities straight. Tae care and we will do this again next spring.
Marilyn, Winnipeg, MB
Enclosed are the cheques from our potluck dinner held on May 16, 2005. This is the second dinner we've held and we are planning on hosting other dinners and events throughout the year. This dinner, like the first one we held, was a great success with much lively discussion and interest in learning more about the situation in Afghanistan. Working with one of the women from our first event we are hosting another evening in June and have already started a guest list for one more evening before the summer. Yet another participant is interested in organizing a mixed evening for couples as well. It is actually quite interesting to discover how eager people are to participate in supporting this very desperate situation in Afghanistan. Once again, please allow me to congratulate the founders of W4W and Breaking Bread for finding such an accessible way for people to get involved.
Minda (Toronto, ON)
We have had pot luck dinners for fundraising for three successive years and I hope we will continue for future years. Many of our members are, or have been, teachers and they are interested in the aspect of the utilization of funds. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this program and best wishes for the future.
Sheila Toronto, ON
It is both a priviledge and a responsibility to forward this donation to you for use in education for girls and women. Thank you for your continued efforts to provide so much help to so many.
Barbara, Niagara Falls, ON
Enclosed are cheques and a money order totalling $1,865, which was recently raised by a group of women in this area. This year marked the third annual Lunch for Learners held by our group and we were very pleased with the turn out. We wish you continued success with your important work in Afghanistan of improving the quality of life for women and girls.
Patricia, Mary & Donna (Quispamsis, NB)
Enclosed are the cheques and forms from our fundraising drive in the ESL Department. We intend to have three fundraising drives a year and will hold the next one in mid-August. Instructors are very enthusiastic about this project and we look forward to learning more.
Cathy, Nanaimo, BC
Enclosed are the cheques from our first pot-luck dinner held on April 11, 2005. We decided to focus on the plight of women and children in Afghanistan in 2005 and are planning on hosting other dinners and events throughout the year. Our first dinner was a great success with everyone agreeing that they learned something about the situation, met interesting people and generally had a good time. In addition, one woman has asked for our assistance in hosting a dinner that she wishes to hold for her friends and family. Perfect! Our next dinner is planned for May 16th...we are motivated by the desire to help people living in these most difficult circumstances and might add, that your orgnaizaiton has done a great job of making this fund-raising simple and fun and the wealth of material available has been great. We will be in touch again after our next event.
Mida and Karen, Toronto, ON
Read this full report on a school fundraising project that was months in the making! “Last fall, I challenged the student body to match my personal sponsorship of a teacher in Afghanistan for one year...Donations came out of the woodwork and it was uplifting to see the students realize that they could reach out to girls in need on the other side of the world. A Kindergarten student donated her tooth fairy money, a student teacher volunteer insisted on making an unsolicited, sizeable donation and a Grade Five student left a thoughtful note on my desk...”more
Anne, Richmond Hill, Ontario
I attended a pot luck dinner last night hosted by Maria in Calgary Alberta. As President of CW4WAfghan, I was asked to speak to the guests about what is really happening now for women in Afghanistan. We had wonderful discussions around the dinner table about human rights and global issues, and Afghanistan specifically. The dinner guests were asking many excellent questions including how and if our government has made a commitment to advancing Afghan womenÍs rights, and how we can ensure Canada gives the long-term commitment so desperately needed.
This was MariaÍs second Breaking Bread dinner; many of the guests attended last yearÍs event as well. What I witnessed at this dinner, and we are seeing come forward from many dinner hosts and guests, is the realization and understanding of how important it is that their support continue. These 20 dinner guests, who together raised enough funds to cover two teachersÍ salaries for a year, have vowed to gather again next year to continue their fundraising for teachers in Afghanistan.
Canadians once again demonstrate, at the grassroots level, how they truly understand the critical role of education for Afghan women and girls, and how this needs to be sustained over the long term. I was deeply honoured and inspired to break bread with these remarkable Canadian women!
When Frances Wright, Carole Perkins and Barbara Thrasher heard about the Breaking Bread fundraiser to support teachers’ salaries in Afghanistan, these energetic women decided to get involved. Working together, knowing that ñthree hosts are better than one,î they designed a year-long plan to support not just one, but three Afghan teachers. ñAs over-worked women, we wanted to find a way to contribute that would reenergize us rather than leave us depleted. So, asking guests to bring food and a donation wasn’t an option.î
Instead, they decided to call upon the Bow Valley Club in downtown Calgary for support. In this beautiful and accessible facility, they were provided with the ambiance and delicious meal, leaving the guests free to discuss the issue of womenÍs rights in Afghanistan, and to network with one another.
The invitation promised: “an intimate celebration with 20 terrific women. As the ultimate multi-taskers we are going to catch up with each other; relax; enjoy a delicious meal; learn a little about Afghanistan; shop ’til we drop with an indulgence of hand made goods from Afghan women; and wallow in some great reading; all while creating an opportunity for a group of Afghan women and children to learn to read and write”.
When asked for her comments after the dinner, Barbara said, “Wow! Did we deliver! Because we had three hosts, women from different networks came together for the first time. Such a nice, smaller group could actually get to know each other and we played musical chairs during dinner (without the music) to assist in the networking process.
We were really fortunate in that Carolyn Reicher and Colette Belanger from Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan attended, providing us with an education on what is happening in Afghanistan, and selling beautiful Afghan handicrafts. Carole Perkins, President of the Bow Valley Club and her incredible female chef provided a meal that was quoted by one participant as being one of the 10 best meals sheÍd ever eaten.”
This uplifting and empowering event raised almost $1300 in donations towards teachers’ salaries, and almost $800 in the sale of products and books! With the second dinner in June already oversubscribed, women are already lining up to commit to the third to be held in September. What’s more, they aren’t stopping at three! “We had one woman who told us if we could raise the money for five teachers she’d write a cheque for the sixth. With this challenge facing them, another women offered her company’s boardroom to host the fifth dinner.”
Congratulations to these three dynamic hosts Ü for their energy and passion, and for making the rights of women and children in Afghanistan a priority in their busy lives. Their unique and sustaining commitment to education in Afghanistan is truly inspiring, and we can’t wait to hear more from the future Breaking Break dinners you hold!
Our Newcomers Club had a potluck dinner on April 1 with 17 people attending. We were inspired by reading Sally Armstrong's book, "Veiled Threat," which led to an investigation of the website and learning of Breaking Bread for Women in Afghanistan. It was a fantastic opportunity for our book club (all women) to have a dinner and include spouses. We all got to know each other better, had a delicious meal and felt good about raising $850. The group decided to make a five year commitment and turn it into an annual event.
Deborah, Victoria, BC
CW4WAfghan Waterloo Chapter held the following event and raised $1,200 for teachers' salaries in Afghanistan: Co-sponsored by Words Worth Books, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, the local newspaper, The Record and The Princess Twin Cinema. HELD: Tuesday May 10 6:30 to 10.pm., Princess Twin Cinema. Tickets $25 to raise funds to pay 2-3 teachers' salaries for a year in Afghanistan. 6:30 doors open; 7:00 Camilla Gibb reads from Sweetness in the Belly; 7:45 Nelofer Pazira reads from A Bed of Red Flowers; 8:15 book signing; 8:45 showing of Kandahar.
CW4WAfghan Waterloo Chapter
Enclosed are cheques ($775) for our Breaking Bread Potluck. We had a wonderful time - a real win-win for the ladies in Afghansitan and us...Other friends heard about my bookclub's pot-luck and they were keen to also be involved.
Linda, Calgary, AB
I was at a talk given by Sally Armstrong where she mentioned the work that your group is doing. I took the liberty of modifying the pot luck dinner idea and asked my high school staff to come to a pot luck pub night. Everyone brought their own drinks and nibbles and many teachers offered to provide entertainment. We had a great evening and saw each other in a different light. What a lot of talented singers and musicians we had on staff! Our school is in Mississauga, Ontario. We have a very multi-cultural population and every year we put on an International Bazaar where each cultural group sets up a booth with food from their country and provides singing and dancing on a center stage. It is a noisy, bustling day and we all love it...Please continue your wonderful work. We will continue to support you with another event next year. We can always hope that next year finds our world in better health.
Joaane, The Woodlands School, Mississauga, ON
Once again, we had a very successful Pot-luck for the Breaking Bread Project raising $1,235.00. Most of the women attending were members of the Voice of Women. The enthusiasm for this project has not waned and hopefully we will continue in the future to raise funds for a teacher's salary plus some supplies. Thank you for initiating this fundraiser as we have not forgotten Afghan Women,
On March 9th, we held the second annual Potluck dinner. The goal this year was to raise enough money to hire two teachers. The dinner was a collaborative effort by myself, Barb and Pauline. Between the three of us we not only reached our target but also exceeded it by a substantial amount! We raised a total of $2100. During the meal we showed the recently released documentary made by Sally Armstrong called “Daughters of Afghanistan” (Blockbuster Video donated two copies for the event). This was a great success as it provoked much thought and discussion from the guests, many of whom were teachers. Hopefully some of them will take their thoughts back to the classroom to raise yet more awareness to the issues that Afghan women and girls still face every day.
Irene, Calgary, AB
On March 6, I invited friends and colleagues to a dinner in recognition of International Women's Day. In previous years a number of us had gathered to share thoughts, poems and readings that were related to women’s issues. This year I had read your newsletter (“Afghanistan Today: Canadian's as Global Citizens”, which was an insert in the local paper) and felt that this fundraiser would be an excellent focus for a 2005 event. I expanded the size of the group and simply asked the guests to bring a donation...As you can see this proved to be very successful. We all felt that we have indeed made some significant contribution to the very difficult lives of Afghan women and girls. Not too much work for the host and fun for all!...Thank you for providing the impetus and the work to make this project a success. It is satisfying to know that we have joined with other Canadians to remember Afghan women and girls.
Mardie, Vancouver, BC
This was the best birthday party I've every had - and there have been many! Great idea and thanks for the inspiration!
Margot, Toronto, ON
It gives me great pleasure to send the amount of $1,090 to your fund to provide teachers in Afghanistan. This money was collected in my elementary school from teachers as a fundraiser for Christmas...Good luck in your continued work.
Maeve, Vancouver, BC
Please accept our donation towards a teacher's salary in Afghanistan. Our book group decided to contribute to your excellent cause instead of exchanging gifts. It gives us great pleasure to think our small donation will help to educate girls and women in Afghanistan...
Joan, Mississauga, ON
The University of Guelph is pleased to make a donation to Breaking Bread in the amount of $5,250. This money was raised through ticket sales for a fundraising breakfast we organized in honour of Person's Day on October 18th. Most of the money raised came from individual donors.
Susan, Guelph, ON
Our community group is sponsoring an Afghan refugee family. On Saturday, Dec. 4th., about 40 members and supporters attended a one year anniversary celebration to honour our Afghan family, a family of five children and their Mom and Dad. A full year had passed so quickly since the family's arrival to their new home in Calgary. What a steep learning curve for both support group members and Afghan family members! Our party also included "Breaking Bread for Afghan Women" with Janice from CW4WAfghan giving an informative presentation and slide show to our group. The importance of education to Afghan youth was also expressed so strongly by two of our Afghan children. Nilofar, our 13yr. old girl, related that the reason she was really glad to be in Canada was that here, she could go to school and if she were still in Afghanistan, she would not be in school. Her brother, who was also celebrating his 17th birthday, said that he was so glad that he was only turning 17yr. because that meant he could stay in school for three more years. How rewarding and heart warming for all of our group!
On November 16, 2004 our Association's Status of Women Committee held a very successful dinner/speaker evening to raise funds for the Breaking Bread project...In total $1,770 was raised to help finance teachers' salaries in Afghansitan.
Vancouver Elementary School Teachers' Association
This donation of $750 was raised by the Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority to fund an Afghan woman teacher's salary. The women were very enthused by being able to make this contribution.
Instead of a gift for my retirement as a Registered Nurse, I asked for donations. Colleagues at my hospital Women College Campus in Toronto made sure that one year salary would be collected and also for books and materials...Truly in Peace,
Madeleine, Toronto, ON
After attending a W4WAfghan potluck dinner last year, I was inspired to do my own project this year to raise money for this worthy cause. Enclosed is a cheque for the profit from my venture. Thank you so much for what you are doing.
Kathryn, Palgrave, ON
Please find enclosed a bank draft in the amount of $750 Cdn in donation towards the Breaking Bread project...I was not able to host a potluck in support of this cause at this time but wanted nonetheless to show my support. I understand that $750 is the annual salary for a teacher in Afghanistan so I trust that these funds will indeed be put to very good use in that area! I have a lot of sympathy for the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan and am very grateful for the opportunity to provide some assistance, however meagre, to them. I fully intend to make this one of the charities that I regularly support and am hopeful that I will be able to host a potluck for this sometime in the New Year. Meanwhile, best wishes and happy holidays!
I am writing on behalf of a group of friends (many of whom are educators) who meet a number of times a year to celebrate each others' birthdays. Once a year we decide on a charity to give a donation. This often involves lively debates. This year I proposed to send our donation to support a teacher in Afghanistan. There was no debate.
Janet (Vancouver, BC)
My daughter and I decided to hold a garden party fundraiser. We asked a friend with a beautiful large garden if we could use her space. We invited eighty of our friends (many of them mother/daughter combos) to come on a Sunday afternoon in June. We indicated on the invitations that we were trying to raise funds to hire a teacher in Afghanistan and asked if each person could bring $10 to donate. Quite a few people could not attend but made donations anyway to such a good cause. We asked a few close friends to help provide snacks. Friends who play in an African drumming group offered to provide entertainment. We sold about $200 worth of Afghan products and raffled some gift baskets we had made up. We raised $1,801 to pay for teachers in Afghanistan!!
Annie and Amoreena, Calgary, AB
Our potluck was a great success. Two friends and I organized the evening, with some other good people who helped with setting up and cleanup. We had 80 people attend, including several who are in their eighties and nineties! We're still tallying, but are over $1600. We suggest that you use us as a model for what it is possible to do, in a smaller centre. Churches are experts at potluck suppers. We advertised in the paper, on local tv and through word of mouth. It was not restricted to our congregation. Although we suggested a $10 donation, we received many higher amounts. The general feedback was that everyone was glad to be able to help in a concrete way, instead of sending a cheque to an anonymous cause. We purchased Ms. Ellis's books to lend to any interested folk. Some have gone out already. Would you let others in your group(s) know how well this succeeded? We believe that you could really help this endeavour, as well as others, in this fashion. By the way, everybody really enjoyed being a part of this.
As I'm sure that you must be donating your time to help women in Afghanistan, let me tell you Thank-You! It is so inspirational to see women across our nation and abroad standing by each other! Namaste,
I read with great interest an article in Chatelaine magazine that told a story about your girls in Afghanistan and your organization. It is truly amazing....I invited girlfriends to my cottage for a weekend and let them know I had read this awesome article and that they would have to donate $75 each to your cause! Everyone agreed with enthusiasm and wrote cheques.
Kathy (Toronto, ON)
My mother and myself have followed with great interest Sally Armstrong's efforts over the past years to educate Canadian women about the suffering of the women and girls in Afghanistan. We were fortunate enough to hear her speak at a fundraising event in Fredericton in November 2003--she is truly an inspiration to us all. When my mother turned 60 this year, we held a women's only party and requested that rather than gifts, donations to Women for Women in Afghanistan would be gratefully accepted. We had a wonderful evening and we are very happy to enclose $1,000 for your very worthwhile cause.
Dawn and Anna, Fredericton, NB
Please find enclosed $750 from my book club. We coincidentally had chosen “Swallows of Kabul” and “The Kite Runner” last season, both of which provoked significant discussion. I happened to see the article in Chatelaine magazine and organized this dinner in addition to our first meeting this year. Please accept this donation with our gratitude. Please keep us posted as to your successes. The book club is very interested in following your progress.
Maria, Edmonton, AB
Members of my book club were so moved by Sally Armstrong's account of the conditions in Afghanistan, that we decided to follow your lead and have a pot-luck supper. So we saved our loonies for a year and managed to amass $880 between us...Thank you so much and good luck.
Gill, St. Marys, ON
A group of us hosted a Breaking Bread brunch for women in Afghanistan. Please find enclosed 14 cheques totalling $1,080...From this another group is having a pot-luck so, it is growing. Good luck with this wonderful initiative.
Carol, Edmonton, AB
Please find enclosed the donations for Women for Women in Afghanistan....We had a great evening and all were very pleased to contribute. We adapted the pot-luck dinner to a martini and tapas theme which was quite successful! I look forward to watching the progress of the project.
Enclosed please find donations to go to the Breaking Bread project. My friends helped me celebrate my 40th birthday at the end of May by attending a potluck dinner and making contributions to this worthy cause. You can thank Sally Armstrong for her well written article in Chatelaine for giving me the idea to do this. All the best with your continuing efforts to educate young women in Afghanistan. May they find the knowledge and strength to help rebuild their country.
Jennifer, Mississauga, ON
Please find enclosed our Book Circle's first cheques towards hiring a teacher in Afghanistan...As teachers, we embrace this opportunity to educate girls in Afghanistan.
Romola, Woodstock, ON
The article on Susan Bellan and Breaking Bread for Women in Afghanistan was the inspiration I needed to have money spent wisely for a wonderful cause--making a difference in another part of the world. Instead of gifts and cards for my retirement party I asked for donations and was overwhelmed by the response...as a now retired teacher, I am very pleased and privileged to help such a worthwhile cause.
Sharon (Waterloo, ON)
We are happy to send our contributions from a Breaking Bread for Women in Afghanistan potluck dinner with Canadian, French, Scottish and Austrian guests...We hope this can cover two teachers' salaries for a year plus some supplies. We were all very happy to be part of this great initiative and want to take this opportunity to congratulate your efforts. We all hope that such efforts will contribute to bringing more fairness for women and girls in Afghanistan.
Iris & Pauliine, France
Please accept our cheque for $750 to support a teacher in Afghanistan. Our staff and students raised this money for your worthy cause.
Students and Staff at Park Avenue Public School, Holland Landing, ON
June 29, 2004
My daughter, Krista, and I hosted our second annual Breaking Bread for Women dinner recently. We were very pleased with the response, and the evening was wonderful. We changed the pot luck format, and decided to cook the food ourselves. We invited our guests to bring $30 each, although many donated far more than that. Krista and I cooked nine different Afghan dishes, some with meat, some vegetarian, and the food was delicious. We both feel strongly about this cause, and are pleased that we can contribute to it. Thank you for the great work that you are doing.
We recently had an afternoon tea in support of Afghan women are are pleased that we raised our goal of $3,000 to fund four teachers. Find cheques enclosed. Good luck with your work.
Linda, Toronto, On
Enclosed you will find the money raised at my Breaking Bread Potluck Dinner on June 15th in Thornbury (small town, between Collingwood and Owen Sound on Georgian Bay Ontario). Most of the ten ladies who attended are members of the same book club...and this dinner was well-received and enthusiastically endorsed!...we all have daughters who have grown strong and healthy because they were lucky to have been born in Canada. Keep up the good work--your efforts are appreciated and welcomed.
Magi, Thornbury, On.
We held a little pot luck cocktail party and it was a tremendous success. This was my very first fundraiser and I cannot imagine a more enjoyable way to celebrate one's birthday! Enclosed are cheques totalling $1,585.
Patrice, Vancouver, BC
This $1,000 donation for teachers salaries in Afghanistan was made on behalf of our book club.
Sharon, Calgary, AB
The University of Waterloo's Student Life Centre donated towards Breaking Bread as their annual charity this past year. They did all sorts of dances, bottle drives, car washes, etc. to raise the money. They invited Susan Bellan, founder of Breaking Bread to their end of year ball as a special guest speaker.
Student Life Centre, Waterloo, ON
Here are our donations to the women of Afghanistan. We had a 60th birthday party and decided to donate instead of presents. We wish you and all the women and young girls, great success... It was a great celebration and we contributed to a great cause.
Thonnburg, Clarksburg, ON.
Our grant total was $1515! We had a great evening and hope to host this potluck on an annual basis. We also hope it will grow each year as more and more women hear about it. Thanks again for your role in helping put our dollars in the hands of those who need them. We are thrilled to see our funds go to pay the wages of two teachers in Afghanistan.
Okanagan University College, Kelowna, BC
On May 20, 2004 I gave myself a 50th birthday party. I had been thinking about turning 50 for the whole year previous and I wanted to somehow honor the women who make my life so incredible. I have always known that I am extremely fortunate to be born in this time in this country and how that affords me great freedoms that other women in the world do not have. I sent out invitations asking the women to come hungry, thirsty, open hearted and openminded...I had set out a donation box for the evening and I was totally in awe with the generosity of my friends. Thank you for the opportunity to give and for the good work that you are doing.
Judy (Puslinch, ON)
June 1st, 2004
Our dinner was a great success and it was fun as well. Cawthra Park United Church, you're "The Greatest". We raised $2,075!! Two of us hosted a dinner for over 30 guests. We got food donated by a supermarket, bakery, vegetable market and a dessert supplier. We cooked a delicious meal and invited our guests to dinner and to donate whatever they wished. They were all very generous, realizing how fortunate and blessed we are to be living in a country like Canada where education and freedom are everyone's rights.
Joyce - Mississauga, ON
Well, I'm happy to report that last night's potluck was a huge success. We raised a total of $1500! ... We had about 33 people attend the dinner and a number of other donations from individuals who were unable to attend the dinner. We asked each person for a $25 donation rather than $75 so that it opened it up to more people. A local book store donated Sally Armstrong's book and we raffled it off as a door prize. The food was excellent and it was a fun social event. My planning committee is very pleased with the outcome of our first dinner. We plan on making this an annual event and I expect our numbers will increase each year as more people hear about the event. We'll be sending the money and information within the next week. Thanks again for all of your work to make these fundraising projects possible...Take care,
Laurel, Kelowna, BC
Report on the Peterborough PotLuck on April 24, 2004: About 50 people enjoyed a variety of delicious food at St. Alphonsus Church Hall. Guests included members of the local Afghan community as well as the Jewish, Muslem and Christian communities. There were also all ages from small children to elderly women. Our guest speaker showed her beautiful photos and spoke about her time in Afghanistan. There were many questions followng her talk and two young girls came up to me afterwards to donate their pocket money.
To Whom It May Concern: My mother is enclosing a cheque for $121 that was raised on Saturday, May 8th. A group of 10 girls gathered at my house to watch a movie and donate the money that they would have used to go to the theatres, $12, to the girls in Afghanistan. It was a potluck, so everyone brought treats and we had a great time. We hope this money is useful in furthering the education of the Afghan girls.
Elisabeth and the girls from Henry WiseWood High School: Tricia, Essie, Krysta, Julie, Shalane, Kelsey, Ashton, Nikita and Kristina, Calgary AB
Hosting a potluck dinner is a great fundraising idea. I heard about it on the CBC radio station on my way to work one morning in February...I hosted a dinner attended by seven friends. We had a wonderful time and they were very generous with their donations. Other friends also contributed even though they could not attend the dinner. I appreciated the effort that was made to support my dream for the women of Afghanistan. My hope is that all the funds can be distributed wisely and that many women will benefit. I will leave that in your capable hands...Thank you for the opportunity to particpate in this proejct.
Here are donations raised at our Breaking Bread dinner held tonight. It was fun to host and people kept telling us what a great idea it all is! We had more than ten people so that people could donate whatever amount they felt comfortable with. We had a very nice selection of vegetarian food and great company, while being able to raise money for this important cause. It is a great idea!! ... I photocopied the handout off the website for people and also the inspirating article out of May 2004 Chatelaine which reminded me to host this dinner! (I had first read about it in the Sept 2002 issue). Thank you so much for all your volunteer work and ingenuity that make this program work.
Ryan and Katie, Whitehorse
I am enclosing the $3,375 that was raised at the Breaking Bread Dinner for women in Afghanistan that I hosted on March 30th. It was a memorable nite for all the women that attended. We all need a wake-up call every once in awhile to appreciate all that we have in Canada. Our hearts go out to the women and children in Afghanistan. Many thanks for all your good work.
I just wanted to let you know that CW4WAfghan 'Victoria abroad' (joined by Toronto, Chicoutimi, and others abroad) are planning a Breaking Bread for Women in rural France (Sergy) in early June, hosted by our dear friends Pauline & Iris, so we are hoping to add our mite to the total funds raised!
Anne in France
We had a very successful fundraising dinner. Twenty-six women from River East Collegiate attended and $1500 was raised! Most who participated were teachers, but others were teaching assistants, secretaries and administrators. These women are very interested in pursuing contact with teachers or students in Afghanistan. When such contact becomes available, please let us know. We plan to make this an annual event!
Marilyn Winnipeg, MB
So far we have raised $3,266 and more money will be coming in...which will pay for the yearly salaries of five teachers. A fitting way for a retired teacher to celebrate her 80th birthday. Your project has given me a great deal of pleasure.
Agnes, Vancouver, BC
I am still on a 'high' after our successful fundraising potluck. How easy can it get!?
Bev, Surrey, BC
I applaud you for your efforts to help the woman and girls in Afghanistan. I learned about you and your projects through Sally Armstrong's article in the May issue of Chatelaine and I was so impressed with the Breaking Bread idea that I immediately began planning a potluck supper at work. I have a number of other women working with me to organize it and they are equally enthusiastic about the project.
Laurel, Kelowna, B.C.
The New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women in collaboration with Voice of Women for Peace organized a potluck supper on March 8, 2004 and Fredericton women donated these funds towards women in Afghanistan.
Rosella, Fredericton, NB
We had the dinner on March 17th and combined it with a St. Patrick's day celebration, complete with green beer, and because it was in the middle of the week, we had it catered! The guests were women in administration at Trent University and Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario...We think your work is important and commend this fundraising idea. It was an easy task and we had a very enjoyable evening.
Barb, Peterborough, ON
I read the Globe and Mail article and then organized my version of the party. The theme was 'for the love of reading, give to the Breaking Bread project'. I invited women and men and served Middle Eastern food. We had a wonderful evening. I know of at least one person who, hearing about my party, plans to have a Breaking Bread fundraiser with her book club. Best wishes for the ongonig success of your work.
Andrea, Vancouver, BC
...We all enjoyed the event and are pleased to be able to help...
Miriam Vancouver, BC
Enclosed with this letter are 12 donations of $75.00 each which were collected at a Breaking Bread for Women pot-luck dinner held on February 23, 2004. We are a group of Calgary teachers and school administrators who held this event as a part of our Calgary City Teacher's Convention...Our group would very much like to know if it is possible to get more information about the project that our funds will go toward. We would be willing to support a particular project with much more than just our money, as we are a very experienced and resourceful group of women educators. Our access to resources, from pencils to books to professional development, may be useful to a school project in Afghanistan. We would love to stay connected and offer more...
Sandy, Calgary, AB.
Last night we held our potluck dinner here in Thornbury Ont. There were over 130 women in attendance. We raise $6,285.00! The committee - a group of women from the local churches - and myself were over whelmed. I plan on mailing the money to Calgary on Mon. as there might be a little more money coming in...We had a wonderful time, thank you for the wonderful idea.
Ruth, Thornbury, ON
"I am happy to send you $2,297 for teachers. Some donors were from Orillia CF University Women and others were friends and family...We all hope this helps.
Helenmaria, Orillia, ON
A group of women from the Cannifton and Belleville area in Ontario hosted a potluck dinner in their community by sending out a public notice requesting guests attend their event, bring an international dish, make a donation and listen to special guest speakers invited to share their knowledge and experience concerning the plight of women in Afghanistan. A total of $1,180 was raised! Thanks to,
Fenella, Penny & Mary Jean, Cannifton/Belleville, ON
Our donation of $1,310 was raised by the joint efforts of all ten women in our Book Club. We were motivated by Sally Armstrong at her presentation in Hampton, NB last January. We invited women from other book clubs to a wine, dessert and coffee open house. It was a huge success! Invitations were printed on bookmarks and each guest was asked to bring a favorite book and take a book home. Wine was donated and we borrowed plates and forks from a nearby church. About 65 guests arrived and several donated more than the suggestion $15. We encourage other book clubs to host similar events. Thank you to all involved in Breaking Bread for Women and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Sally Armstrong and the Hampton John Peters Humphrey Foundation for encouraging us and enabling us to help girls and women in Afghanistan.
Hazel, Juliet, Jennifer, Karen, Jayne, Jane, Jane, Jean, Dianne, Sue
Saint John, NB
We are pleased to enclose a total of $1,210 raised at a Breaking Bread for Women at a local home. We had a lovely evening with 22 women present and also received donations from several who could not attend...thank you for the opportunity to participate in this event and we wish you the best in your ongoing work for the women in Afghanistan.
Heather and Sigrid, Dundas, ON
...Two of us co-hosted our event, which provided for an interesting mix of women and men for all of us. We are very appreciative of your organizational infrastructure support for the idea and format, and for the effective distribution of monies raised, to directly support Afghan women and their children.
Janine & Vandi, Toronto, ON
...I heard Sally Armstrong speak and shared her comments with the students at Georges Vanier Secondary School who run a small store at lunchtime..."the Skool Store"...they requsted that $1,500 be allotted to supply two teachers for girls in Afghanitan.
Louise and Mary, North York, On
I presented my slides and stories from Afghanistan (I worked there several years ago with a French organization). As a member of CW4WAfghan I also took this opportunity to introduce our work and the various fundraising initiatives, including the Breaking Bread project. This group of Calgary women meet once a month to discuss world issues. They were deeply moved by what they learned about the plight of women in Afghanistan. At the end of the evening one woman approached me and said she wanted to sponsor a teacher and she proceeded to fill out a donation form for $750! (a Pot Luck Dinner of one guest!)
Patricia, Calgary, AB
The women of our United Church in Oakville got together for our third annual pot luck social. There were approximately 110 individuals gathered for the dinner, and afterwards we were entertained by a gospel singer, composer and musician. A freewill offering was collected in support of Breaking Bread. Our goal of $750 for one teacher in Afghanistan was exceeded, as we raised $1,814! We had a wonderful evening and we are happy to be supporting your organization and the women and children of Afghanistan.
Patricia, Oakville, ON
I am just off to mail $1200 worth of cheques for the Breaking Bread project. The Rotary Club…sponsored the event…the hosts were Rotary members. They have a lovely home in the country with lots of space inside and out. We served Afghan food, plus salads and desserts brought by the guests…We had over 40 guests and after the food, there was a presentation with wonderful photos about …Afghanistan. Then we had an auction of books donated by a Rotary member: a signed copy of Sally Armstrong's book and two of Deb Ellis' books. A couple of our Afghan guests wore traditional dress and it was a lovely event.
Kate from Guelph, On
From the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax…$914.00 from their fundraising event “Hearts and Minds…A Valentine’s Day Fun and Food Fundraiser to pay one Afghani Teacher”: “Come and socialize with your UUC friends, invite a friend, co-worker, or neighbour. Enjoy Afghan fare: a lamb or children dish, and sweets…learn about the challenges of educating Afghan girls from our guest speaker, participate in fundraising activities, door prizes, enjoy live entertainment….and more!
Excerpt from article in local Niagara Falls Review…
Last night I had the most amazing experience. A group of women gathered around my kitchen table. We sipped wine, ate a sumptuous meal, including large quantities of dessert, and we talked. What made the evening so extraordinary was that while we were enjoying each other’s company, we were also helping to improve the lives of young women halfway around the world. The seeds of our event began last November when I heard journalist Sally Armstrong speak about the plight of women in Afghanistan…When I wrote a column about the Breaking Bread initiative after I first heard Armstrong speak last year, my friend asked, “So when are we having a potluck?” After six months of emails back and forth, we finally settled on a date…$875 .. not bad for a night’s work, particularly when the night included some much-needed laughter between friends and large quantities of chocolate – two elements essential to the female soul. As we sat talking about our families and our lives I noticed that my daughter had slipped into the room. With her ever present book in hand, she quietly curled up in a chair, half-reading, half-listening to the conversation…I tried to imagine what her life would be like if she couldn’t read...if we lived in a country where attending school could be forbidden to her simply because she was a girl. I couldn’t imagine her brilliant young mind stagnating because she was not allowed to study and work and fulfill her potential. …It suddenly struck me that this was the gift that we were giving someone else’s daughter in a world so vastly different from our own. What our $75 could provide was hope and a chance to have the kind of experience that our own children so often taken for granted. It was quite an evening.
Suzanne, Courtice, Ontario
I recently read about your endeavors in a local newspaper article reviewing the new book by Sally Armstrong. I hosted a pot-luck dinner on April 28th and am pleased to provide $550 to help women and children in Afghanistan. Thank you for the opportunity to help. I pray that our donations will make a difference in the life of some Afghan woman and children.
Kathleen, Cayuga, Ontario
Having read several articles by Sally Armstrong and listening to news releases about continuing problems for women and children in Afghanistan, my daughter and I decided to host a fundraising dinner. This I believe was a format chosen by others to not only raise money for a worthwhile cause, and also give women a chance to vent their frustrations and opinions on world issues. From the response that we had to the evening it was a success on both accounts!…
Sharon, Inglewood, Ontario
…the Breaking Bread dinner held at my home raised $3,000…you might let Sally Armstrong know that this dinner was a direct result of her speaking at McGill last fall. Several of us had been there and agreed she is a great inspiration. I had the video of the recent Passionate Eye program running on a TV in the kitchen and everyone crowded around to watch it. …the evening was a great success. We had a mixed group of women who did not all know each other. They arrived with enthusiasm, supportive of the cause …
Arlene, Westmount, Quebec
After hearing Sally Armstrong’s presentation in Hampton NB we recently held a luncheon for women to raise funds to support a teacher for one year in Afghanistan ($1,685)…We hope this donation assist s you in your work in Afghanistan and we send best wishes for your continued success.
Pat & Donna Quispamsis, NB
Enclosed are donations received during a Breaking Bread pot luck dinner hosted by the staff at our Addiction and Mental Health center. We were inspired by Sally Armstrong who mentioned your organization when she presented at our annual lecture series last fall…in peace and respect for our sisters in Afghanistan,
BRENDA in Vancouver had an open house for her 60th BIRTHDAY PARTY! An announcement was sent out to all of Brenda's friends and family to "a gathering to talk, visit, laugh, snack and together make a difference to one part of the world. " She asked that guests "bring two presents: 1) your presence and 2) a financial contribution for Breaking Bread...if you w ant to help Brenda get accustomed to the number 60, you might want to donate $60... or whatever amount you can afford. No amount is too large or two small..." Brenda provided all the background information on the project, and a local Afghan Canadian woman was invited to join the party and talk about her experiences in Afghansitan and why the need is so great to support education. The guests raised over $3,500! Happy Birthday Brenda from the Breaking Bread organizers!
“You Canadians have such energy, determination and dedication! I can't tell you how impressed I am with your hard work, generosity, and just plain kindness. Your third donation to PARSA will carry the Paghman home schools forward into Fall 2003!…These grants will pay for the girls' education for a minimum of seven months, maybe more…I couldn't ask for a better New Year's present. Thank you many times over! Love and best wishes, Mary. "
Mary MacMakin at PARSA in Kabul, Afghanistan
"Our pot-luck group were teachers and retired teachers. We hope, as educators, to make a difference in Afghanistan for the women and children."
"I recently held a "Breaking Bread" function at my home and am pleased to be sending you funds in the amount of $1500, which will support two teachers in Afghanistan for one year. Twelve of us had a great day - lunch, bridge playing and we even baked bread...I have since mentioned the project to several others...good luck!!"
"Fourteen of us recently held a pot luck dinner for Breaking Bread for women. A volunteer member of W4WAfghan spoke to our group and we all had a great evening."
"Many of us are graduate students so we all elected to pay what we could. We all wanted to contribute as everyone agree that it is an excellent cause. And the conversation and camaraderie of the dinner were indeed special. Many thanks for the assistance with organizing the dinner...thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this most worthy cause. All the best with future fundraising."
"Enclosed please find $900 for a teacher's salary for one year in Afghanistan. We had three potlucks (mostly teachers both current and retired) and had a wonderful time planning and socializing and realizing how lucky we were to be in this position in Canada. We all think this is a wonderful idea and hopefully the response will be good from all parts of Canada. Good luck with the good work."
"Our "Breaking Bread" community fundraiser was a huge success! Event attendance exceeded our expectations. Most memorable is the honour of meeting and hearing Sally Armstrong. Her indomitable spirit inspired us all. This has been the most rewarding event that I have coordinated...Together we are pleased to have raised $5,000 for teachers in Afghanistan...This fundraiser has truly enhanced our community!"
Karina, Slave Lake
excerpt from Mile Zero News, Wednesday September 25, 2002
Page 6 by Kate Morrison, MZN Reporter
"Teachers Walk for Teachers"
"Trying to bridge the gap between Canada's social prosperity and Afghanistan's turmoil after many years of civl war, strife and oppression, local teachers an educators got together last sunday morning to walk the Friendship Trail. they walked the five-hour trek from Grimshaw to Peace River as part of a fundraising campaign that is trying to improve the lives of people in Afghanistan...the project is called Breaking Bread for Women in Afghanistan and it seeks to raise money to provide education to women and girls in the war-torn country."
Grimshaw/Peace River, Alberta
"We held our "Breaking Bread" pot-luck last week and had 18 women attend. It was wonderful, inspiring, sobering. Even though many didn't know each other there was a very easy, comfortable feeling in the group. I think the "Breaking Bread" concept is an excellent one.
Wishing you much success in your work"
Liz from Nanticoke, Ontario