There are times when some groups are targeted by other power groups. This is the case of women, who are Shia, of ethnic minorities such as the Hazara in Afghanistan.
For us in a relatively safe world, their stories are the stuff of nightmares. In fact, even repeating them is very fearful.
Alarmed and frightened for their safety, a group of us started an informal international circle, meeting once every two weeks. Our idea is to keep in touch and find support for a range of people in need, among them young women permaculturalists.
Getting women out of the country without a male accompanying them is very difficult. Pakistani visas are increasingly expensive.
We have been able to raise funds to find a place which we hope will be an asylum in Pakistan. We also are working to help these refugees earn an income – such as providing a sewing machine, or care for toddlers, or opportunities to teach.
The concept of a Safe House has been well-received, and we have met the funding needs to keep a group of permaculturalists for a year. We have connected with some people in Pakistan who can help them, and by the time you read this, we think that three young women will be safe. Of course, we do not know what the future will bring them, but the Safe House is a start.
We hope there will be other such Safe Houses. There are none in Afghanistan.
By Rowe Morrow