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What We Do and Why It Matters


What We Do

Working closely with our NGO partners, Beyond the 11th develops programs tailored specifically to the needs of widows. Widows attend literacy and numeracy classes. They receive materials and training to start small businesses. And they learn how to form Community-based Savings Groups (CBSGs), to pool their earnings and lend to each other for essentials like school and medical fees. 

With self-reliance and the warmth of community comes hope.

Fariba had been living in isolation when she started attending Savings Group meetings with her mother-in-law. She treasured the chance to learn and grow in the company of other women.
She says, “The CBSG released me from seclusion.”

Graduates of our programs have started many life-sustaining businesses:

  • Raising and selling eggs in their neighborhoods

  • Managing dairy cows and selling the milk

  • Creating and selling intricate embroidered textiles

  • Hand-stitching soccer balls for sale around the world

  • Creating one of a kind knotted rugs, distributed by Arzu

Why It Matters

Ten years ago the Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times journalists Nicholas Kristof and Cheryl WuDunn wrote a call to action called Half the Sky. They observed that in every new century the modern world has faced an urgent moral dilemma.

In the 19th century it was the call to end slavery. In the 20th it was the battle against totalitarianism. The critical moral imperative of the 21st century, they said, is to end the oppression of the world’s women.

The worst place to be a woman is the most crucial place to make a difference.

The case for championing women’s rights in Afghanistan cannot be overstated. According to Time magazine (Dec. 8, 2018), Afghanistan still ranks as the worst place in the world to be a woman. After decades of war, terrorism and insurgency, women and children still suffer disproportionately. While the needs are great, our programs are working.

The record suggests that schools and economic initiatives…chip away at fundamentalism...
— Nicholas Kristoff
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