Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA)

HAWCA is an Afghan national NGO dedicated to working for the social wellbeing of all people with a particular focus on women and children who live in Afghanistan or in refugee communities in Pakistan. HAWCA recognises that violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent forms of discrimination in Afghanistan. The organisation provides direct help and assistance to women facing violence and uses its experience to raise awareness within the communities of Afghanistan, with the national government and internationally. It is currently leading efforts to write Afghanistan’s reports to the UN Committee on the Convention Against All forms of Discrimination Against Women. HAWCA’s work in Herat Province is one example of its work. HAWCA opened a Legal Aid Centre for Female Victims of Violence, in Herat city in July 2009. Working on violence against women and children is one of the most dangerous activities a group can do in Afghanistan. By refusing to stay silent on this issue and working directly to prevent violence, as well as with victims of violence, HAWCA reminds the international community, as well as the Afghan Government, that violence against women is an impediment to development as well as a breach of women and children’s human rights. HAWCA’s other activities include: free literacy education for women and primary and secondary education for children, particularly in remote areas of Afghanistan; emergency assistance for victims affected by natural or people-made disasters; facilities for women-headed households to support self-sufficiency and sustainable livelihoods; information technology and language training.