Women for Afghan Women: Breaking the Cycle of Violence in NY's Afghan & Muslim Immigrant Communities

Help us challenge the harmful norms that perpetuate violence by supporting our comprehensive direct services for the entire family and culture change programs.

The Problem

When Women for Afghan Women (WAW) opened our NY Community Center in 2003, we found that Afghan women in NY suffer the same violence as their sisters in Afghanistan, with an almost 90% rate of relationship violence, as harmful social practices have ingrained a culture of violence in most Afghan households.

Today, 60% Afghans plus 40% other Muslim immigrants make up WAW’s client base. 80-90% of our clients are survivors of violence and illiterate even in their own language. They are newly arrived immigrants or refugees with no knowledge on how to navigate US systems and are very low-income. Therefore, they are left dependent, isolated, and afraid, with almost no opportunities to get out of abusive situations.

The Solution

The trust WAW has built with the communities we serve has broken the silence surrounding relationship violence and our NY Community Center provides survivors with a safe space to come forward. With our comprehensive programs that includes confidential legal and case support for families, English and citizenship classes, driver’s ed, vocational sewing class, financial literacy, job readiness workshops, and monthly support groups for women, and leadership programs for girls and boys, WAW is not only changing individual lives but also the harmful social norms to bring about systemic change that will break the cycle of violence for NYC’s Afghan and Muslim immigrants.

We are changing the cultural norms that make it permissible for so many to be victims of relationship violence by continually educating the communities we serve on healthy relationships and helping them examine the toxic practices that perpetuate violence. We are reaching community members but also leaders, such as imams (Muslim religious leader), and youth so that the positive changes we are seeing are felt for generations to come.

Planned Use Of Funds

WAW will use this funding, if successful, towards continuing our new vocational sewing class for women survivors of violence in order to build their financial independence and hosting more workshops on job readiness, financial literacy, legal and women’s rights, and healthy relationships in order to empower survivors to lead the lives they choose.

In addition, this funding will bolster WAW’s leadership programs that provide Afghan and Muslim youth with safe spaces to discuss healthy relationships, toxic gender norms and how to break them, and the different forms of relationship violence.

We have already broken the silence that too-often disables Afghan and Muslim women survivors from coming forward but with your help, we can end relationship violence in these high-risk communities by building a more robust anti-violence program for NYC’s Afghan and Muslim immigrant communities.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Women for Afghan Women (WAW)


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