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Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Breaking Bread Dinners

Did you know? May 2020 is Virtual Breaking Bread Month! Learn more here

Breaking Bread for Women in Afghanistan is a volunteer initiative to raise funds for education programs for Afghan women and girls. A summary of this information may be downloaded below. CW4WAfghan supporters hold fundraising dinners in their homes or organize fundraising events in schools or communities. Over 1,400 Breaking Bread Dinners and events have been held all across Canada since 2002. Thank you to all of our donors, including Breaking Bread hosts and guests for your generous support. Over $8.5 million has been raised to support education for Afghan women and girls since our inception in 1998. The large majority of our donations come from individual donors with ongoing support from all of our chapter members and volunteers. #breakbread

Why Host a Breaking Bread Dinner?

  • Raise money. The Breaking Bread fundraising dinners are one of CW4WAfghan’s most important sources of revenue that ensure we can continue to run high quality programs that enable access to education for women and girls in Afghanistan. The Breaking Bread dinners help make sure we have resources to always keep programs running. CW4WAfghan is a registered charity incorporated under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, S.C 2009 (NFP Act) with Corporation Number 415380-4. CW4WAfghan is a non-religious, nonpolitical charity registered with Canada Revenue Agency under number #887718203RR0001.

  • Not stressful. They are easy to host! You might choose to use a potluck dinner format. This means you can host a dinner with copious amounts of food, without having to cook all those dishes! Breaking Breads can be as casual or as elaborate as the host wants them to be. Have a formal program with a speaker or a musical performance, show a film, or just get together, gab and eat! And when cooking isn’t the preferred option, some hosts arrange their dinners at a local restaurant and guests pay for their dinners in addition to the suggested $75 donation.

  • Have fun. A Breaking Bread dinner is a rewarding social experience. People come together easily around food, and this is an enjoyable way to contribute to a good cause. It’s a great excuse to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while, facilitate networking, or get to know others. Many groups end up hosting a Breaking Bread annually that becomes a much anticipated tradition among friends.  

  • Raise awareness. Because a Breaking Bread is a social experience, it means you share your passion for CW4WAfghan’s work with others. Imagine if just one person who attends your dinner decides to host their own dinner: you have not only helped raise the money from your Breaking Bread, but helped ensure another dinner takes place, reaching even more supporters and helping raise awareness on the need for quality education in Afghanistan.

Planning Your Breaking Bread 

Breaking Bread events can be organized in all kinds of ways, from a simple potluck meal among friends in your home to larger events in the community, such as in a church hall, community centre, school, or other venue. Some hosts arrange to invite a speaker, screen a film, or hold a short presentation to give a formal part to the evening, while others plan activities or a theme for their events such as around Mother's Day in May, or International Women's Day (March 8th). Some organizers may arrange to show a video from our website to help explain our programs and the work guests are supporting by attending the event.

All amounts of donations are warmly welcomed and greatly appreciated! The Breaking Bread hosts leave the donation amount up to their guest. Well before guests start leaving, as host you gently remind everyone that the reason for the dinner was to raise money for advancing education for Afghan women and girls through supporting teachers salaries, training and related education projects with CW4WAfghan. For the donation, a cheque is requested for the donation payable to CW4WAfghan and a basket, envelope or dish can be made available for collecting the donations. Please ensure the address of the donor is correct as tax receipts will be sent based on the information on their cheques. Should you wish to accept cash donations, please provide the name, address and amount of donation so that a tax receipt can be issued. As you should never mail cash, please purchase a money order or provide a cheque for the total of cash donations, and submit this with all the cheques received during the event. Donations can also be made by the guests in advance of the event, or if they are unable to attend, by following the instructions on our website under DONATE.

Online electronic donations via credit card may be made at if you wish to set up a computer with this link open in the browser window so that guests can donate online at your event. Please have them enter "Breaking Bread Host Last Name and City" in the message section and we will track this amount for your total contributions.

As host, please send us a brief note or letter with a short write up about your event and include the total amount you are submitting. We would like to use this information in our News Bulletins; photos are also appreciated as long as permission is given to you in advance by your guests to have these photos included in newsletters or on the web site.

You may wish to share the hashtag #breakbread with your guests who use Twitter if they're sharing photos, quotes or thoughts on social media during the event.

Thank you for being a Breaking Bread host, and a valuable part of our support network! We could not do this without you.

Cheques and notes should be mailed to:

Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
P.O. Box 86016 MardaLoop
Calgary, Alberta
T2T 6X7

Examples of Breaking Bread Dinner Events

If you are looking for ideas, themes or activities for your dinner, here are some examples of past Breaking Bread events that have taken place around the country:

  • In May 2020, we launched the first Virtual Breaking Bread campaign. Read more about hosting a virtual Breaking Bread here

  • “Taste of Afghanistan” cooking classes have been held in Manitoba, where preparation of Afghan dishes was demonstrated and guests learned about common Afghan ingredients and recipes. For inspiration, check out our own Afghan recipes page here

  •  Students in Ontario held birthday parties, where instead of going to the movies, they watch a show together at home, make popcorn and cupcakes, and donate their gift money as a donation.

  • A Victoria resident had an 80th birthday party, inviting all her friends to come and "bring whatever total of 80 you can afford...quarters, loonies, bills". Family and friends held the party on the front lawns of two homes of neighbours.

  • A group of CW4WAfghan supporters in Calgary host two dinners each November at a small golf club restaurant where they have arranged a reduced cost for a three-course meal at about $35. Guests will donate $100 with the proceeds being a donation. If the guests can't make the first date, the organizers are quick to mention that a second dinner will be held two weeks later and then they sign them up. Friends come year after year and enjoy each others’ company, share their stories, enjoying a meal and at the same time contributing to basic rights for Afghan women and girls.

  • Three Vancouver friends jointly hosted a potluck dinner in a large meeting room in the school where one of them worked. They arranged many small tables with tablecloths, flowers and candles, and prepared several long tables on the side of the room for plates, cutlery, napkins, coffee, tea, water, and punch, and where the 40 attendees could place the food dishes they brought. A representative from CW4WAfghan attended and talked about girls’ education in Afghanistan and CW4WAfghan’s programs, and the audience had the opportunity to ask questions. A table of Afghan products available for purchase also provided another source of funds raised at the event.

  • A teacher in Airdrie, AB held Breaking Bread events each year for over ten years at the school where he taught, involving a large number of students as part of their social justice group called Students For Change. Their families and neighbors joined and celebrated this as an annual International Women’s Day event.

  • A number of Book Clubs in Atlantic Canada have hosted Breaking Bread dinners when the club was reading a book set in Afghanistan such as Deborah Ellis’ The Breadwinner, The Kiterunner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, or other titles.

  • Barb in West Vancouver has hosted several Breaking Bread Brunches, informal potluck events where her dining room table is filled with a wide variety of food dishes brought by guests. She supplies coffee, tea, juice, sparkling water, dishes and cutlery, and sets up a small display of information about CW4WAfghan programs, including a donation box and membership registration cards. She also arranges for a representative from the organization to attend and give a brief presentation and remain on-hand to answer questions and speak informally with attendees. One such brunch was held on Mother’s Day weekend, and had a Mother-Daughter theme, where she encouraged participants to bring their mothers and/or daughters. Guests always enjoy meeting new people, sharing a meal, learning about CW4WAfghan, and supporting a good cause.  

Other ideas

  • Sometimes local businesses will offer their space for free, or donate products, as it provides valuable advertising of their goods or services, for example, specialty food stores.

  • A Breaking Bread Picnic in a local park can be a way to accommodate larger groups without paying for room rental.

  • An Afghan fair or mini-festival can feature various stations offering henna art, calligraphy demonstrations, Afghan food samples, music, crafts, and more.

  • A Breaking Bread film evening can combine a potluck dinner with a showing of an Afghan film, or guests could go to a cinema to watch The Breadwinner animated film.  A good selection can be found in a film list maintained by CW4WAfghan. Email to request a copy.

How will the money you raise be used?

Please encourage guests to review any of the resources provided on our website such as our annual reports, audited financial statements, our governance, policies and procedures, and of course a full description of our PROGRAMS. Please also ask your guests to SIGN UP as a member and receive our regular news bulletins and follow our updates and stories from our projects and participants. Their support as members allows us to demonstrate the impact we have as global citizens.

Get In Touch

A heartfelt thank you goes out to all our Breaking Bread organizers and participants for your fabulous, sustainable long-term support for programming in Afghanistan! It’s a beautiful story we are all writing together! Please share your stories and milestones with us for future news bulletins and Facebook by contacting

CW4WAfghan is here to discuss your ideas and plans for a Breaking Bread dinner. For further information, please review the resources provided and call 403 244-5625 or email

PDF icon cw4wafghanpamphlet2017.pdf222.59 KB
PDF icon Breaking Bread Information542.17 KB

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

t: 1 (403) 244-5625

Registered Charity #887718203RR0001

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