Masuda Sultan is an Afghan-American women’s rights activist and entrepreneur who has been working for over 20 years in support of women and girls in education, vocational training and protection from violence. She is a co-founder of Women for Afghan Women (in 2001) where she previously served in the capacity of board member and donor for 21 years. Women for Afghan Women grew to become the largest Afghan women’s organization with a focus on working with women survivors of domestic violence, women and children in prison, and mediating family conflict.
In 2008 Ms. Sultan was appointed as an advisor to the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan. In 2019 she co-founded All in Peace, a coalition of organizations dedicated to bringing the longest war in American history to a peaceful end. Ms. Sultan currently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Advisory Committee. Her memoir, My War at Home, was published in early 2006 by Simon & Schuster. She has an MPA from Harvard University. Masuda is a cofounder and Executive Director of Unfreeze Afghanistan, and traveled to Afghanistan in March 2022 as part of the American Women’s Delegation for Peace and Education.
Sunita Viswanath is a human rights activist and a progressive Hindu leader. She is a co-founder of Women for Afghan Women (in 2001), where she previously served for 21 years in the capacity of Board Chair and donor. Women for Afghan Women grew to become the largest Afghan women’s organization with a focus on working with women survivors of domestic violence, women and children in prison, and mediating family conflict.
She also founded Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus (in 2011) and Hindus for Human Rights (in 2019). Ms. Viswanath is a recipient of Feminist Majority Foundation’s Global Women’s Rights Award (in 2011), a recipient of the White House Champion of Change Award in 2015, and one of Center for American Progress’ 21 “faith leaders to watch” in 2021. Sunita is an advisory board member of Unfreeze Afghanistan, and traveled to Afghanistan in March 2022 as part of the American Women’s Delegation for Peace and Education.
Jazmine Shaw is an Afghan-American human rights activist with over a decade of experience volunteering and working in the nonprofit sector. When Jazmine was 12-years-old, her dad committed suicide and a few months later her mother went to prison. With nowhere to go, Jazmine lived in a shelter for survivors of domestic violence and then in a children support center run by a local nongovernmental organization. While living in the shelter, she learned about the many societal, political, and economic challenges facing Afghan women, and the lack of services and resources to address these issues. This was the moment when Jazmine vowed to dedicate the rest of her life to advocate for and support women, children, and other marginalized populations. With a lot of hard work and support from generous individuals and institutions, Jazmine—at age 16—was able to come to the United States, finish High School and college with honors, earning a B.A. in economics and political science from Drew University.
Since graduating college, Jazmine has been working as a development professional, raising necessary funds that will strengthen New York City’s community-based organizations, ensuring that every New Yorker has access to educational and professional learning opportunities to reach their fullest potential. Currently, Jazmine is the Development Officer at ExpandED Schools, an organization dedicated to ensuring that all young people in New York City have access to enriching afterschool programs that affirm their identities, teach them valuable skills, and spark new possibilities in and out of the school day.
ABAAD: Afghan Women Forward is a project of Afghan Relief. Its governing committee includes: Masuda Sultan and Sunita Viswanath, Jazmine Shaw, Co-founders, and Farid Senzai, Ph.D., Founder & President, Afghan Relief.