|Since our husbands were killed on September 11th, we've received overwhelming support from friends, family, and even strangers. It made us stop and think… What happens to a widow from another country without the support system we’ve almost come to take for granted? What must it be like to be a widow in, say, Afghanistan?
From these discussions, we formed Beyond the 11th with its mission to help support widows in other parts of the world who have been affected by war and terrorism. We’ve chosen to start in Afghanistan because after 9/11 we were bombarded by images and horror stories of women’s lives there. We know that Afghan women -- and especially widows -- face huge challenges. Since the fall of the Taliban we have heard reports that life for women in general has improved. But for widows, not much has changed. Not only does an Afghan widow not retain possession of her husband’s property after his death -- since 85% of all women in Afghanistan are illiterate and unskilled, most widows and their children are forced to beg just to survive.
Beyond the 11th plans to make grants to existing non-governmental organizations that are well established in Afghanistan. We’ve been working with two such organizations, both of which have agreed to create programs specifically tailored for widows. Our greatest hope is that Afghan widows will be able to provide for their children who will in turn become educated and help to further change women’s roles in Afghanistan.
Thanks for your support!
Susan Retik and Patti Quigley
Co-Founders of Beyond the 11th
If you would prefer to write a check, please make payable to:
Beyond the 11th
Mail to: P.O. Box 81273 Wellesley, MA 02481