Fresh Meadows-based charity organization tries to help 2.2 million Afghan girls gain access to education

Schoolgirls listen to a speech by Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a ceremony marking the start of the school year in Kabul
Schoolgirls listen to a speech by Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a ceremony marking the start of the school year in Kabul March 24, 2012. (REUTERS/Omar Sobhani)

A Fresh Meadows-based organization is refusing to turn its back on the more than 2.2 million Afghan girls who are excluded from education as their brothers return to school under the Taliban.

Women for Afghan Women, the eastern Queens charity dedicated to protecting the rights of women and girls in the war-torn nation through access to education and training, has announced a new partnership with BookBlocks.io to create exclusive artwork inspired by iconic author Louisa May Alcott.

The collaboration will raise funds for the education of Afghan schoolgirls through a non-fungible token (NFT). BookBlocks.io will turn over 100% of the income generated from this NFT to Women for Afghan Women, to help schoolgirls gain access to education.

“The Taliban announced only male teachers and students should return to schools, leaving the future of millions of girls across Afghanistan uncertain. This is a generation that grew up hopeful and dreaming about their future through educational opportunities,” Women for Afghan Women U.S. Country Director Naheed Samadi Bahram said. “Women for Afghan Women has been working on the ground for 20 years to improve the lives of women and girls. We are committed to serving Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and Afghan refugees arriving in the United States.”

A non-fungible token is best described as a fully unique digital asset that cannot be copied. NFTs began with art, but can also be used to certify the uniqueness of many other collectibles. NFTs are stored on the blockchain, which is a digital ledger that certifies every piece of data on that ledger to be fully unique and not interchangeable with any other piece of data on the ledger.

“The work Women for Afghan Women has done for the last 20 years in Afghanistan is incredibly inspiring. To have the opportunity to contribute in a small way toward the continuation of that work that so powerfully benefits the lives of Afghan women and girls is an honor, especially as they face this most recent attempt to severely restrict their access to education,” BookBlocks.io’s Co-Founder Gordon McClellan said. “BookBlocks for this NFT fundraiser and hope it will raise significant amounts of money to support the ongoing efforts to provide a better future for Afghan women and girls.”

Since the Taliban returned to power as the U.S. military withdrew in September, Afghan women have risked death, beatings and imprisonment as they protest on behalf of Afghan girls who have been trapped in their homes.

BookBlocks.io has chosen to mint 2,200 copies of this NFT to signify the 2.2 million girls currently excluded from school in Afghanistan.

The background colors of each NFT are also different, signifying the diversity of backgrounds that make up the women and girls that Women for Afghan Women serve. And they chose to commission four different versions of this illustration to represent the 40% of Afghan children who suffer from malnutrition.

The aim of this NFT is to present WAW with valuable financial resources to help provide new hope and a better future for countless Afghan women and girls.

“Thank you, BookBlocks, for standing with the Afghan people at this critical time,” Bahram said. “We encourage you all o support this inspiring campaign and support our Afghan sisters.”

For more information or to make a donation, visit the Women for Afghan Women website at womenforafghanwomen.org. To learn more about the blockchain and NFTs visit this website.

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