And it does so by embracing a project, which is both one of the most necessary yet one of the most difficult to achieve in today’s world: supporting Afghan women, who have been stripped of all their most basic rights.
Following the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021 and the subsequent humanitarian and economic crisis*, Afghan women have been especially at risk. Their freedom of movement is increasingly restricted, and they are in urgent need of economic opportunities, to help them gain access to their basic rights: food, healthcare, and education.
De Rigo - with its brand Yalea - has chosen to partner with Women for Women International in 2023 to support the enrolment of 125 women in their Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program in Afghanistan.
This partnership will enable some of the most marginalized women from the province of Parwan, in the east of Afghanistan, to participate in a 12-month social and economic empowerment training program focused on topics such as business skills, financial literacy, vocational training, household decision making, health and wellness, stress management and psychological first aid, support networks and rights awareness.
The program also provides a safe space for women to connect and support each other in dealing with the isolation that continues to increase for women in Afghanistan. Women who graduate from this training program typically see powerful tangible results from their participation in this program, including increases in their savings or income, greater say in household decisions, improved self-efficacy, ability to speak out against violence, and increased food security. Women for Women International has been working in Afghanistan for twenty years and has navigated the complicated and challenging current context in Afghanistan in such a way that allows them to continue to provide women with the vital skills, knowledge, resources, and support they need to improve their own lives.
Following on from the project supporting Nigerian women, YALEA - the brand that promotes women by supporting their freedom of choice, encouraging their talent and rewarding their inner and outer beauty with eyewear styles that enhance the personality and uniqueness of every individual - is once again concretely standing in solidarity with Afghan women.
Barbara De Rigo, Chief Marketing Officer at De Rigo, commented: “As a woman and entrepreneur, I feel especially proud to once again be teaming up with Women for Women International, offering - in this instance - a tangible contribution to improve the living conditions of Afghan women. I greatly desired the development of YALEA, a brand that - in an authentic and sincere way - was an inspiration and support to all women and which, in addition to offering them eyewear styles that enhance the personality and uniqueness of every individual, was also concretely involved in supporting projects that champion the growth, affirmation and independence of women the world over”.
Sara Bowcutt, Managing Director at Women for Women International – UK, commented: “I am so pleased to continue our partnership with Yalea - an all-female brand celebrating women’s freedoms and talent. Women in our programmes learn about their health, rights, and a marketable job skill - such as tailoring, bread-making or poultry-keeping - as well as gaining business training to turn their skill into a stable income so they can support themselves and their families. By supporting our Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme in Afghanistan, Yalea is helping some of the world’s most marginalised women survivors of war build a better future for themselves and their children, creating a ripple effect of change that helps to make the world more equal, peaceful and prosperous.”
*Note: Following the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021 and the subsequent humanitarian and economic crisis, Afghan women have been especially at risk. The humanitarian situation has steadily worsened, and millions are affected by acute food shortages – massively intensified by the war in Ukraine UN, 2022. More than half of the Afghan population suffers from acute hunger WFP, 2022, particularly women and children. Violence, poverty, and insecurity are on the rise and currently 97% of Afghans are at risk of living below the poverty line of $2.15/day UNDP, 2021.