While WAW was originally founded to advocate for Afghan women then living under Taliban rule, WAW’s leaders quickly learned that Afghan women living in New York City were enduring similar abuses as their sisters in Afghanistan. Therefore, the Community Outreach Program was created in Queens, NY, where over 90% of NY’s Afghan population resides. Once the sheer need for our services was discovered, this program evolved into the NY Community Center.
Traditional practices and belief systems often follow immigrant Afghan families to the United States. Oppression is rampant in many households, with most women heavily monitored and isolated, having left their own families abroad to join their husbands here, whether by choice or by force. Most arrive at WAW completely illiterate in their native language and unable to speak English. They often lack marketable skills to find employment, making them unable to contribute to their low-income households. Many women suffer domestic abuse in silence, ignorant of their rights and the services available to protect them.
WAW remains the only culturally competent organization able to serve the specific needs of the NY Afghan population, and the Community Center has become an invaluable resource and second home for this large and growing community.