+
Want to help women and girls in Afghanistan? Here are two simple places to start.

In October 2019, I sat at a table in Jakarta interviewing a young Afghan woman about the plight of refugee women in Indonesia. Her family had fled the Taliban when she was a child, and now she's stuck in a life of limbo in Jakarta with little hope of change.

By practically every measure our lives are nothing alike, yet I felt connected to her immediately. She was brilliant and eloquent (in English, no less), with a keen passion for justice and equality.

But mostly she was just so fully and beautifully human. The only real difference between us was that I was born inside certain man-made borders and she inside different ones. Neither of us chose our life circumstances. The happenstance of my birth did not make me more deserving of the freedom and privileges that lay unjustly out of her reach.


When we hugged goodbye, I wished I could take her back to the U.S. with me. I lamented that the Trump administration had slashed our refugee admissions ceiling to historic lows and thought of the countless women like her, overflowing with potential that might never be realized because of where they were born and the rules out of their control.

Her face flashed before my eyes as the news of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan after U.S. military withdrawal broke. Women and girls like her will surely bear the brunt of the fallout. We're already seeing heartbreaking stories of women burning the diplomas and degrees they have earned, fearing a life of extremist oppression, watching their hopes and dreams destroyed overnight. There were already Afghan refugees scattered in camps and stopover countries throughout the world, waiting for a chance to build a life for themselves—and now there will be thousands more.

Women and girls have always paid a high price in men's wars, but rarely is the price as visible as it is in Afghanistan. We know what Taliban rule means for women and girls there and we can't in good conscience just walk away and do nothing to help them.

If you feel compelled to do something, here are a few options:

1) For help on the ground right now, consider donating to organizations that have a strong track record of helping Afghan women and girls.

- Women for Women International is a non-profit organization that provides aid and support to women in war-torn countries. Women for Women has long had a presence in Afghanistan and their Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program has proven to have a significant impact in the country. A donor has promised to match up to $500,000 for the emergency aid fund in response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding there. Learn more and donate here.

- Women for Afghan Women is a grassroots civil society organization that "works to help Afghan women and girls exercise their rights to pursue their individual potential to self-determination, and to representation in all areas of life—political, social, cultural, and economic." With offices in Afghanistan and New York, they assist disenfranchised Afghan women both in Afghanistan and the U.S. Learn more and donate here.

2) For help in the long run, ask the U.S. government to increase the refugee ceiling back to historic norms at minimum.

While the Biden administration increased the number of refugees the U.S. would accept this year from 15,000 to 65,000, that's still far lower than the numbers the U.S. has historically welcomed. (To be clear, the refugee resettlement program is separate from the asylum-seeking we see at the southern border.) Refugees are the most vetted group of people to enter the U.S., they are statistically more likely to start businesses than native-born residents and other immigrants, they overall have a positive impact on the economy, and logic would tell us that displaced people are likely to be grateful and loyal to a country that offers them safe haven and opportunity. Refugee resettlement is good for the U.S. in addition to being the right thing to do.

Sign the International Rescue Committee petition to raise the refugee ceiling here.

Let's add our financial resources and civic voices to our thoughts and prayers for the women and girls of Afghanistan, as well as all of those facing oppression under the Taliban regime. While pundits play political football over who is to blame for the mess, let's put our focus on helping those who are most impacted by it.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

Honorees, speakers and guests on stage at We the Peoples

True

Some people say that while change is inevitable, progress is a choice. In other words, it’s a purposeful act—like when American media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner established the United Nations Foundation 25 years ago.

Keep ReadingShow less

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18


In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.

Keep ReadingShow less
True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

A 92-year-old World War II fighter pilot flies her plane for the first time in 70 years.

"It's the closest thing to having wings of your own and flying that I've known."

Photo pulled from BBC YouTube video

World War II vet flys again.

This article originally appeared on 05.19.15


More than 70 years after the war, a 92-year-old World War II veteran took to the sky once again.

It's been decades since her last flight, but Joy Lofthouse, a 92-year-old Air Transport Auxiliary veteran, was given the chance to board a Spitfire airplane for one more trip.


Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 08.20.21


Sometimes you see something so mind-boggling you have to take a minute to digest what just happened in your brain. Be prepared to take that moment while watching these videos.

Real estate investor and TikTok user Tom Cruz shared two videos explaining the spreadsheets he and his friends use to plan vacations and it's...well...something. Watch the first one:

So "Broke Bobby" makes $125,000 a year. There's that.

How about the fact that his guy has more than zero friends who budget $80,000 for a 3-day getaway? Y'all. I wouldn't know how to spend $80,000 in three days if you paid me to. Especially if we're talking about a trip with friends where we're all splitting the cost. Like what does this even look like? Are they flying in private jets that burn dollar bills as fuel? Are they bathing in hot tubs full of cocaine? I genuinely don't get it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Someone asked strangers online to share life's essential lessons. Here are the 17 best.

There's a bit of advice here for everyone—from financial wisdom to mental health tips.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Failure is a great teacher.

It’s true that life never gets easier, and we only get continuously better at our lives. Childhood’s lessons are simple—this is how you color in the lines, 2 + 2 = 4, brush your teeth twice a day, etc. As we get older, lessons keep coming, and though they might still remain simple in their message, truly understanding them can be difficult. Often we learn the hard way.

The good news is, the “hard way” is indeed a great teacher. Learning the hard way often involves struggle, mistakes and failure. While these feelings are undeniably uncomfortable, being patient and persistent enough to move through them often leaves us not only wiser in having gained the lesson, but more confident, assured and emotionally resilient. If that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.

Keep ReadingShow less