Jamila Afghani, an educator and human rights defender from Afghanistan, was awarded the seventh Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity during a series of high-level philanthropy-focused events in Venice, Italy, in October 2022. Founder of the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization (NECDO), she has dedicated over 25 years of her life to giving the women of Afghanistan access to education. Forced to flee Afghanistan, Jamila Afghani continues to help others at distance.
The Aurora Prize is granted by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors. The Laureate receives a $1,000,000 grant and a chance to continue the cycle of giving by supporting organizations that help people in need.
“The day the Taliban took over was one of the saddest moments of my life. Leaving my country and all our achievements behind was heartbreaking, but Aurora has proven that humanity is still alive. Thanks to its generosity and compassion, we are able to continue our life-changing work. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to support these organizations in Afghanistan and to lend a helping hand to the people in Yemen facing one of the most devastating humanitarian crises of our time,” said Jamila Afghani.
With more than four million forcibly displaced people as of the end of 2022, Yemen has the fourth largest internally displaced population due to conflict worldwide. Thanks to the funds provided by Aurora, Yemeni IDPs returning to their areas of origin will receive financial support crucial to rebuild their houses and sustain a basic living situation. The project is expected to benefit 81 families (486 individuals).
The project implemented by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) with Aurora’s support will empower women and girls in Afghanistan, mostly survivors of domestic violence, through creating economic opportunities and psychosocial services, and will influence policies at national and international levels to preserve women human rights in the country. The number of the program’s direct beneficiaries is expected to reach 1,900 (with 13,700 individuals benefiting from it indirectly).
The Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization (NECDO) intends to use Aurora’s funds to promote women’s rights and economic development in Afghanistan by establishing an educational studio for developing lessons for adolescent students in both national languages (Pashto and Dari) and broadcasting the materials through a national educational TV channel, radio, educational website, and social media. NECDO estimates the project to directly benefit 20,000 girls in 5 provinces (Kabul, Nangarhar, Herat, Balkh, and Kandahar) with a potential to reach millions of beneficiaries indirectly.
In 2023, Aurora celebrates its 8th anniversary. With these new projects, the Initiative will benefit over 2.7 million people in total, including more than 1.1 million individuals affected by war, conflict, displacement, persecution, and other humanitarian issues.
Photo: Jamila Afghani and beneficiaries of her projects, Afghanistan, 2017, ©Aurora Humanitarian Initiative