University Women Helping Afghan Women (UWHAW)

University Women Helping Afghan Women (UWHAW) continues to work to:

  • Learn about the issues facing women and girls in Afghanistan
  • Raise awareness of such locally, nationally and internationally
  • And to support the women and girls how we can, most notably by providing scholarships to female students at Gawharshad University in Kabul

1. We continue to learn.  We hold monthly events with stimulating speakers


    2. We raise public awareness around the world on the issues facing Afghan women and girls.         

    We accept speaking engagements and work locally, nationally and internationally to raise public awareness of the issues facing Afghan women and girls.  We have presented at the Graduate Women International (GWI) Triennial Conference in Istanbul, at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, at the Women Graduates-USA AGM in Salt Lake City, at AAUW in Connecticut, at area clubs, at CFUW AGMs across the country, and at the CW4WAfghan Symposium and AGM in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. Most recently we were the initiators of a CFUW Joint Project with GWI-NL on the Afghan peace negotiations and their perilous significance for the women in Afghanistan including our popular Walk to Kabul and concluding with a Webinar for some 500 registrants from 27 countries. Following this was an invitation to speak at International Studies Group, Vancouver.




       Probus Club, Ottawa           Workshop & Seminar with Dr. Samar at GWI Triennial, Istanbul


    Over the years we have developed an extensive network of contacts.  We keep in touch with members doing similar work in other Graduate Women International NFAs around the world, and with the CFUW National Afghanistan Study Group.  We are fortunate to live in Ottawa where we have access to the superb resources of Global Affairs Canada, the Embassy of Afghanistan, the universities, and NGOs like the Aga Khan Foundation. Canadian Ambassadors to Afghanistan including Chris Alexander, William Crosbie, Deborah Lyons, Kenneth Neufeld and Francois Rivest, Reid Sirrs and Ambassadors of Afghanistan to Canada, including former Ambassador Shinkai Karokhail and Ambassador Hassan Soroosh, have supported our work and attended our events. In addition, our participation at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women has introduced us to significant Afghan NGO leaders and opened doors to opportunities at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations.



    Event Guests over the years include: Canada’s first Ambassador to Afghanistan, Chris Alexander, activist and journalist, Sally Armstrong,  former Canadian Ambassadors Deborah Lyons & Kenneth Neufeld, Minister Monsef, Patricia Leidl, and former Afghanistan Ambassador to Canada, H.E..Shinkai Karokhail,  Diane Harper GAC, Minister Monsef, former Ambassador Rivest, current Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States H.E.Roya Rahmani and former Canadian Ambassador of Canada to Afghanistan, William Crosbie.

    3. We fundraise to provide scholarships for girls at Gawharshad University, Kabul, and for the post graduate Fran Manning Scholarship in Women’s Defence Law.

    In 2019 we introduced the delightful Dinner for Hope and once again held the always popular Musical Luncheon and Silent Auction. We look forward to returning to these popular events Post-Covid. Funds raised at these events have provided full scholarships for several students each year.



                        Musical Luncheon and Silent Auction at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club


                                       Dinner for Hope at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club

    Over the 9 years prior we have held several Summer Evening Garden Receptions, and Autumn Colours/Afghan Talk/ Sunday Suppers in a member’s home.



    Fundraising proceeds went directly to Dr. Samar’s Gawharshad University in Kabul to provide scholarships for carefully selected, underprivileged young women who are determined to make a difference in the country they call home. Two Fran Manning Post Graduate Scholarships in Women’s Defence law are also awarded.

    As of 2021, with the help of many:

    • 42 UWHAW scholarship girls have graduated;
    • 60 girls were currently studying plus 2 postgraduate students in Women’s Defence Law;
    • And funding was available for new students in the Class of 2021.
    • Tragically now all is on hold.


               Our University Scholarship Students Past and Present with Dr. Samar, university founder              and our mentor

         Photos: Courtesy of Gawharshad University

      If you are a member of CFUW-Ottawa and would like to join this very worthwhile project, please contact:  We offer great learning opportunities and fun events for those who wish to get involved.

      Like us on Facebook: UWHAW   Follow us on Twitter: @4UWHAW

      History of UWHAW

      CFUW-Ottawa hosted the 2010 CFUW National AGM.  The theme was “Value the Past:  Shape the Future”. As we reviewed CFUW-Ottawa’s remarkable one hundred-year history, we looked within our Canadian borders and beyond to see where we could support other women shaping their future. Our example and focus led to Afghanistan, where Canada was serving as part of the NATO forces there.  Special AGM guest, Dr. Sima Samar (physician and Human Rights activist) communicated so movingly and intelligently the lack of human rights for Afghan women that many hearts, minds, and eyes were opened.  We learned that the best way we could empower young Afghan women was through education and so several CFUW-Ottawa members joined together to form University Women Helping Afghan Women, commonly referred to as UWHAW.

      International Federation of University Women

      Triennial Conference 2013, Istanbul, Turkey

      Members of CFUW-Ottawa's University Women Helping Afghan Women were active participants in the IFUW's 31st Triennial conference held in Istanbul, Turkey from August 16-23, 2013.  

      Hally Siddons presented a paper prepared by herself and Dianne Rummery, 

      Educate AfghanGirls: Sustain the Nation   

      As well, Hally and Leila Metcalf led a workshop 

      Developing Sustainable Education for Girls and Women in Afghanistan

      After Istanbul, the UWHAW developed Ideas for Action to support Women and Girls' Education

      UN Commission on the Status of Women

      58th Parallel Session

      New York, March 2014

      CFUW partnered with WG-USA to present a Parallel Session at the 58th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. 

      Hally Siddons presented a paper prepared by herself and Dianne Rummery:

      Universal Primary Education by 2020: In Peril for Afghan Girls?


      Women Graduates-USA AGM

      Salt Lake City, Utah

      September 2014

      Women Graduates USA invited CFUW-Ottawa to present at their annual AGM in Salt Lake City whose theme was "Reaching Out to Connect".

      Hally Siddons and Dianne Rummery presented the following:

      Reach out to Connect: Empower Afghan Women and Girls

      Canadian Federation of University Women: Reaching Out to Connect


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