|Dear AUW Family and Friends,
Another year and more have passed since the beginning of the Covid 19 calendar. AUW’s class rooms, dormitories, and other areas remain hauntingly vacant with just 24 out of our 1000+ students still on campus. The most urgent challenge we face is in arranging the return to campus of our students and safeguarding their health and safety while they are in our custody. With so much uncertainty around the pandemic still looming in the horizon, no choice can be easy or foolproof. Yet, having spoken to many of our students over the past month and following the discussions from AUW’s last Board of Trustees meeting and the counsel of a special Task Force of experts that we have assembled, I am convinced that we must try to bring our students back in a systematic way, adhering to the best protocols and practices that are known. The Government of Bangladesh has generously indicated that it will facilitate a supply of vaccines for our students as we search for additional vaccines and other crucial material resources such as Covid-19 test kits, PPE, oxygen, therapeutics, etc. Please contact info(at)asian-university.org for a detailed list of our needs.
Perhaps no other group within our community faces as dire an existential challenge as our Afghan graduates and alumnae. With NATO forces fast disappearing from Afghan land and, Taliban having already taken over more than one hundred districts, the fear of what awaits even in Kabul have become palpable. We have no illusions as to the convictions of and methods used by the Taliban. Neither do our students nor alumnae. Under these circumstances, we are preparing to not only evacuate our Afghan students but also our alumnae who may want to return to AUW for graduate-level courses and further prepare for a better day in their country. We will not be able to bend the fates of all 40 million people in Afghanistan; however, we have a solemn obligation to do everything we can to support the 250 or so AUW students and alumnae in these times of multiple jeopardies in Afghanistan stemming from Covid, a collapsing state that is being run over by the Taliban i.e the same Taliban who violently oppose women’s rights and the existence of minorities such as the ethnic Hazaras who constitute a majority of our students and alumnae.
Time is of the essence here. I am on my way to Bangladesh and Afghanistan next week. As of now, we feel confident that we can pull this through. As always, your support (and prayers) will help. We need resources to transport the students and alumnae out of Afghanistan (Emirates is still flying out of Kabul); we need vaccines; we need all the monitoring and back up supplies. With approximately $500,000, we believe we can get this done.
Thank you for considering extending your support for AUW at these unkind times.
With much gratitude and best wishes,
Founder & Trustee
Asian University for Women