The partially clothed bodies of a woman and her two daughters were found on the side of a road near the capital of the northern Afghanistan province, Baghlan. There was a note attached to their chests calling them whores and warning other women not to work with non-governmental aid groups.
Dr. Abdul Khalil, a doctor in Pol-e-Khomri, 95 miles north of Kabul, said that the women had been sexually assaulted.
The desperately poor in this region of the world have few opportunities for employment or income. There are several micro-credit organizations which extend small loans to women who want to start their own businesses. Two of these NGOs, BRAC and Grameen, deserve to be supported.
BRAC, formerly the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, moved into the northern province in Afghanistan in 2002 as some of the refugees who fled to Bangladesh began to return home when the Taliban were driven out of power. It was this group that the women probably worked for.
BRAC was founded in 1972 in Bangladesh. BRAC and Grameen have assisted women in rural areas, improved thousands of lives, and made formerly destitute families self-supporting. With micro-loans, women are able to keep up their small businesses without going into debt to usurers for capital or product. The rate of default on these loans is extremely low; the programs are structured so that women help one another, in addition to agreeing to a code of living for the duration of their involvement with the programs.
|BRAC’s core approach and competency is the delivery of health, education, microfinance, and microenterprise services on a large scale to the rural poor, primarily women. BRAC decided to train local women to help deliver these services and organize local groups. As a result, BRAC’s service delivery contributes to building local leadership and local organizations.|
When the founder of the Grameen project was asked by the US Congressional Forum why more than 94% of their loans go to women he said,
|Women have plans for themselves, for their children, about their home, the meals. They have a Vision. A man wants to enjoy himself.|
In other words, they have ambition and tenacity. What happened to the men, that all they have left is the violent, envious subjugation of women and children?