After the Taliban came into power and formed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in August 2021, Masuda Sultan, Sunita Viswanath, Jazmine Shaw established ABAAD: Afghan Women Forward (Prosper Afghan Women), a project of Afghan Relief, to serve the urgent needs of Afghan women and their families, with a special emphasis on women survivors of domestic violence.
With the regime change, hiatus of foreign aid, and devastating economic sanctions imposed by European countries and the United States, Afghan women are facing an array of challenges, including homelessness, food insecurity, as well as lack of proper healthcare services, quality education, and opportunities to work outside the house. Since women make up 50% of the Afghan population, they can play a vital role in rebuilding their country. ABAAD was founded to empower Afghan women to support and uplift their families and communities out of extreme poverty and hunger. ABAAD will prioritize women survivors of domestic violence in its work and has already identified dozens of women who were previously receiving support from women’s organizations that have suspended their programs.
The founders of ABAAD are Sunita Viswanath, Masuda Sultan, and Jazmine Shaw, an Indian American Woman and two Afghan Americans, who have worked together for two decades on women’s rights in Afghanistan. ABAAD will be staffed by local Afghan women and men, based in Afghanistan and committed to the welfare and rights of the people of Afghanistan, particularly women and girls.