Beyond the 11th is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that empowers widows in Afghanistan who have been afflicted by war, terrorism, and oppression. We provide grants to programs that enable widows to support themselves and their families without begging in the street or standing in a breadline.
We accomplish our mission in two ways: increasing awareness of the desperate situation of widows in Afghanistan, and raising funds to help them. By providing grants to partner non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Afghanistan, we fund education and income-generation opportunities that are sustainable and culturally appropriate.
The approximately 2.5 million Afghan widows are among the most impoverished and vulnerable peoples in one of the poorest countries in the world — yet they are often overlooked. Culturally displaced and overwhelmingly illiterate, widows in Afghanistan are stripped of whatever resources and respect they had when they were married. It is difficult to overstate the bleak reality of everyday existence for these women as they struggle to feed their children and simply survive. Too often, widows see suicide as the only way out.
Impoverished and utterly without resources, these women cannot lift their focus beyond day-to-day survival. As a result, their children are also trapped in the cycle of poverty. The only way to break this cycle is by enabling Afghan widows to lift themselves out of the abyss. When a mother improves her life situation, her children have a chance at a better future — a chance not only to survive into adulthood, but a chance to attend school, which is vitally important on a global scale. The enemy in Afghanistan is not just the Taliban — it’s illiteracy. If we are ever to affect meaningful social change and deter terrorism in Afghanistan, it is through education and empowerment from the lowest echelons of society — the very place where Afghan widows dwell.
This is the work of Beyond the 11th.