On August 9, when we launched our fundraising campaign for Rukhshana Media, we hoped to raise enough funds to keep our small operation going for another year. We had no idea that almost a week later the Taliban would capture the Afghan capital and force our team into hiding and exile.
Each morning since that day on August 15, Afghan women have woken up to the bitter reality that they are no longer allowed to function as part of society because they were born women. The Taliban has banned them from working and attending secondary schools and universities (they claim this is a temporary measure). Women who protested such restrictions were beaten by Taliban foot soldiers on the streets. The journalists who covered the protests have been arrested and tortured. Millions of Afghans are displaced. People are suffering financially, socially, and mentally.
As women journalists, we tried to cover as much as possible while keeping safe. It is hard to be a journalist covering the loss of your own rights, your own freedoms. As female reporters, our worst nightmares came true. But our brave journalists at Rukhshana Media are determined to continue their work and bring women’s perspectives to the now marginalized and severely reduced press corps in Afghanistan.
Amongst all the chaos, what has kept us going is the generous support and kind messages we received from all of you. People from all over the world have reached out, touching our hearts and giving us hope to continue our work, no matter how difficult the path forward might be. One of you wrote, “Your voices are strong, loud, and clear. Keep talking to us, we are listening.” Thank you for making it possible to tell the world what is happening in Afghanistan to Afghan women across the country.
A few months ago, we were a small newsroom in Kabul with an ambition to create a conversation among Afghan women. Now we are a collective supported by people from all over the world. Thank you for making it possible to continue our work.
With your support, we are happy to announce that we are expanding the Rukhshana team and launching our English-language site.
Once again, we want to thank each one of you for your support, donations, feedback and messages of solidarity.
Zahra Joya, Founder of Rukhshana Media