Rumiko Seya, REALs’ President, Expands the Aid Group’s Focus to Include Afghanistan


Is REALs additionally specializing in girls inside Afghanistan?

One of many girls I assist is nineteen years outdated. She was working as a girls’s activist and journalist, however she was threatened and assaulted by the Taliban due to her work. Nonetheless, she continues with delight. I needed to take her out of Afghanistan to save lots of her life. She nonetheless desires to return to Afghanistan, if the state of affairs improves. And there are numerous individuals like that.

We additionally began meals assist in Afghanistan in February, concentrating on 15,400 individuals, together with women-headed households. A few of them are moms, and a few had been college college students who had numerous desires. However then it turned to darkness in a single evening.

The place do the funds to assist the evacuations and meals assist come from?

We obtain U.N. and different assist for different tasks. However REALs doesn’t obtain any funding for Afghan evacuation, aside from personal donations. We began fund-raising for that round October; earlier than that, we used our inner property. We’d like round $1 million to assist the evacuations; thus far about $300,000 has been donated to REALs.

What made you resolve to get into humanitarian work?

Once I was 17 years outdated, in highschool, I noticed a photograph, taken in a refugee camp, within the Democratic Republic of Congo, the place 2 million Rwandan individuals had fled. It was throughout a time once I was complaining quite a bit about my life. I noticed there was just one digicam between myself and the photograph, however there was big distinction in life. I began having a imaginative and prescient of myself with the ability to return one thing to the individuals who enlightened me. I needed to do one thing as a result of I used to be saved by taking a look at these individuals.

And now you’re the president of this group. Did you expertise challenges as a girl throughout your profession?

In Afghanistan, I didn’t have a direct harassment, however I needed to be cautious. For instance, throughout conferences with Afghan officers, I didn’t converse as a result of I knew girls usually are not supposed to talk in public. I used to be attempting to be culturally delicate.

However there are additionally roles that solely girls can play. And that’s the motivation for me to proceed. Once we work with girls who had been raped or attacked, they’re afraid of speaking to males even when they’re from humanitarian organizations. However once I go there to speak to them, they open up.


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