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Afghan women visit British Parliament to mark International Women’s Day

Afghan women shared their incredible stories with the British Minister for Afghan Resettlement Victoria Atkins (Image courtesy: Twitter/@NasimiShabnam)

A group of 12 inspiring Afghan women visited the UK Houses of Parliament to mark International Women's Day and tell their own unique stories of success and integration.

At a reception hosted by the British Minister for Afghan Resettlement Victoria Atkins, the Afghan women shared their incredible stories of living in the UK after leaving Afghanistan.

Among the women invited to parliament were:

Benafsha Yaqoobi: An Afghan disability rights activist, she was made one of the BBC 100 women in 2021. Yaqoobi, who is visually impaired, founded the Rahyab Organisation in 2008 with her husband, to provide education and rehabilitation to visually impaired people in Afghanistan. Following the Taliban invasion, she was forced to leave the country but remains a vocal advocate for the rights of disabled people, who she fears will face discrimination from the Taliban.

Arefa Shafaei: She feared for her life and didn’t believe that she would make it to the UK following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. However, after securing a place to study at the University of York she made it to the UK with the help of the British embassy.

Zahra Joya: Along with her sisters Sabria Joya, Sharifa Joya and Fakhria Joya, she is the founder of a media company called Rukhshana Media that shared women’s voices across Afghanistan, a child in Afghanistan, she pretended to be a boy in order to get an education.

The visit comes as the UK government continues its operation to resettle thousands of Afghans forced to flee, with over 19,000 Afghan evacuees already arrived in the country.

The country is also preparing to welcome thousands of Ukrainian families as part of a huge humanitarian effort.

"I hope their uplifting tales of bravery, determination and success can shed some light on the journeys and struggles so many women and girls have had to undertake since the Taliban took control of their country," said Atkins.

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