Shawl-Tea for Women Members of the Afghan Parliament
Kabul, Afghanistan, April 9, 2009
The afghans for Afghans project presented a gift of a tea party and new wool shawl to each of the 91 women members of the Afghan Parliament in Kabul. These beautiful, lovingly made shawls were hand-knit or crocheted by American and Canadian women to show support and admiration for the women leaders of Afghanistan. We wanted to salute the courage of the women members of Parliament, bolster their souls, and warm their hearts. We wanted to do something special for these women leaders working very hard to serve their people, rebuild their war-torn country, and role model for girls.
Our colleague -- Bay Area school teacher and women's advocate Elsie De Laere -- represented afghans for Afghans as our hostess for our shawl-tea for the women members of Parliament. This event was held inside the Parliament building itself! Elsie has returned from her stay in Kabul to tell us firsthand about the issues of concern to the women MPs and what they want Americans to know about their lives and current situation.
Preparing Our Hand-Knit and Crocheted Shawls for Afghanistan's Women Members of Parliament
afghans for Afghans Statement Read at Shawl-Tea in Kabul (Dari Translation Provided)
April 9, 2009
Dear Women of the National Assembly of Afghanistan,
Thank you for this honor of hosting this tea for you, the distinguished women members of the Afghan Parliament. This is a special day. Many women friends in the United States and Canada send warm wishes of greetings and support.
To keep you warm and as an expression of our concern, we have personally knit a wool shawl for each of you. These shawls are the work of our own hands and hearts. We wish to warm your hearts and spirits. This is a gesture of our respect and friendship. We admire your leadership, hard work, and courage in serving your people and rebuilding your country.
We enjoyed making these shawls for you. In the process, we learned more about the people of Afghanistan and your customs. We know that Afghan women create many beautiful textiles, such as carpets, embroidery, sewing, knitting, and crochet. To increase our appreciation, we document traditional Afghan knitting designs and create new designs based on Afghanistan's cultural heritage. Our effort is about promoting understanding and support, from women to women.
The afghans for Afghans project works with many reliable relief agencies to deliver our hand-knit wool blankets and clothing to Afghan school children, orphans, internally displaced people, sick children, babies, and new mothers. Please visit our website to see photos and to stay in touch. As long as the need exists, we wish to continue. Knitting with our hands allows us to express our caring and to keep the Afghan people in our hearts and on our minds.
We wish we could be with you today, but we are grateful to have our capable colleague, Elsie De Laere, represent us and greet each of you. Ms. De Laere trains teachers in Afghanistan and advocates for the lives of women. She is one of the many devoted individuals supporting your efforts to promote education and advancing opportunities for women and girls. When Ms. De Laere returns to the United States, she will tell us about your visit together and share stories. We will have tea parties, and we will discuss the latest news from Afghanistan and learn more about the well-educated, professional women lawmakers of Afghanistan. We will tell our citizens about your work and the issues you face. You inspire us.
We hope you will enjoy visiting together today and selecting a shawl to wear. May it keep you warm and bring you comfort and good cheer. We hope the new year brings many blessings to the women lawmakers of Afghanistan, your families, and your country. May there always be communication and friendship among us!
With respect and admiration from your friends,
Ann Rubin, founder, and the many volunteers of afghans for Afghans
San Francisco, California
Letters of Greetings from U.S. Congresswomen Presented to Afghan Women Members of Parliament
At the shawl-tea, we proudly presented letters of greetings from U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Congresswomen Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, and Lynn Woolsey -- sisters in law-making.