After a summer marked by the public health emergency and the lockdown, Nove Onlus’ projects started again.

In Afghanistan, after a summer marked by the public health emergency and the lockdown, our projects started again. Our Afghan team in Kabul worked tirelessly to ensure activities could resume as soon as possible.

I am a woman and I want to work’ project: in mid-August, the driving courses for women started again at the Women Garden in Kabul. 44 students signed up for the new ‘standard’ driving course, and 10 enrolled in the professional one. The latter is the only one in Afghanistan and aims to expand the Pink Shuttle project as well as to foster women’s employability in male-dominated areas. The courses will last for four months.

After the break imposed by the lockdown, the literacy courses resumed as of mid-August as well. Also held at the Women Garden and developed together with the Directory of Women Affairs (DoWA), the courses are currently attended by 54 women and will last until December 2020.

‘The power of sport’ project: it is carried out in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross – is on hold since the lockdown. The construction of the indoor stadium in Herat – one of the two sport arenas for disabled athletes in the whole of the country– will resume at the beginning of 2021. International competitions for both male and female national teams of wheelchair basketball have not yet been rescheduled. The training of the athletes has restarted, but not in Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif.

The ‘Pink Shuttle’ project: its second phase started on September 1st when the transportation service for the public resumed. New aspects are: 1. The enlargement of the fleet with four new minivans (12 seats each); 2. New professional female drivers to be hired as soon as they complete the training in December; 3. The expansion of the service to other areas of Kabul. Our goal is to offer around 46,000 rides in a year.

However, despite the hard work of the Nove Onlus’ team and the unstoppable determination and resilience of the Afghan people, unforeseen circumstance related to the fast deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan may severely affect the activities’ timeline.  Most importantly they might expose women to even greater risks.  The peace talks in Doha between the Afghan Government and the Taliban, were preceded by an intensification of deadly attacks (more than 60 in 3 months). They have not brought any stability, or peace, at this time.

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Our team in Kabul has expressed its concerns and recommends proceeding with extreme caution, for example, driving the Pink Shuttle only in central, and therefore safer, areas of Kabul city.

As for our Italian engagement, the activities planned in the framework of the ‘Lend a hand’ project did not take off last spring due to the lockdown. Courses such as the ones for canteen-attendants designed for both Italians and foreigners in need, were cancelled, aware that the food industry had suffered great losses due to the lockdown. Nove Onlus and its partners are replanning this activity in response to new pressing necessities.

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