On Thursday, May 26, 2022, we held a fundraising event to officially launch a year-long campaign to raise $250,000 to help oppressed individuals reach their dreams and potential through education.
From the war in Yemen to the recent war in Ukraine, it’s clear that there is a need for humanitarian help for those in trouble and who seek an opportunity for a better life. We heard from our keynote speaker Shakila Zareen, a survivor of domestic abuse and child marriage. Learn more about Shakila and her story.
Across the globe, there are women like Shakila Zareen who dream of escaping war, conflict, poverty and societal pressures to pursue an education and a better life. But without the right support, that dream is hard to realize.
The Langara College Foundation cordially invites you to attend Inspiring Stories of Resilience Thursday, May 26, 2022 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm Langara College, T Building Gallery, Second Floor, 100 West 49th Ave In partnership with Women Leaders of Tomorrow
Shakila was joined by a panel of speakers from different backgrounds and was moderated by Dr. Gretchen Ferguson. Click here to learn more about each panel speaker.
Marina Musleh at Marefat School with her classmates in Kabul Afghanistan prior to the Taliban takeover
Marina Musleh at the Shawnigan Lake School in Canada after the Taliban takeover
WLOT & Shawnigan Lake School Press Release May 24th, 2022
Shawnigan Lake School and Women Leaders of Tomorrow are delighted to welcome a young leader from Afghanistan to Canada.
Marina arrived safely in Vancouver last week following a courageous journey on her own to Islamabad in Pakistan, where she spent an extended stay of three months waiting for the necessary paperwork to come through. The entire process took nine months. Earlier this week, she reached her final destination at Shawnigan Lake School, a boarding school on Vancouver Island, where she will complete her high school education.
Until recently, Marina was a student of Marefat High School, a school in Afghanistan whose founder, Aziz Royesh, envisioned a modern school that valued gender equality and emphasized math, sciences, and student leadership.
When the Taliban took over the government in August 2021, they immediately banned girls’ education above Grade 6. Marefat High School was closed, forcing Marina and her schoolmates to stay home. Marina was prevented from accessing education, but she didn’t give up. She contacted the founder and Executive Director of Women Leaders of Tomorrow (WLOT), Friba Rezayee, and asked for help to leave Afghanistan so that she could pursue her education.
At the time, Marina was an English student of WLOT. One of the many services this Vancouver-based non-profit organization provides is English language training programs for young women in Afghanistan. Volunteer teachers and tutors from across Canada connect with language learners online. Thanks to WLOT, Marina studied English for nine months with an English teacher and mentor from Newfoundland before arriving in Canada.
Ms. Rezayee recalls a conversation with Marina shortly after the Taliban takeover. “I was devastated when I witnessed my country fall into the hands of the Taliban,” she shares. “I watched it live at 3:30 a.m. PST in my apartment in Vancouver. And I could hardly speak over the phone, but I still needed to call Marina to check that she was okay.”
Marina was very composed. When Ms. Rezayee asked how she was so calm, Marina responded, “I am calm because I am planning to become the first female president of Afghanistan so that I can help to fix this turmoil.”
“The reason that our country fell to a group of armed men is because it is run by uneducated leaders,” she continued over the phone. “You must invest in the youth of Afghanistan if you want to rebuild our country.”
Marina openly shares that she intends to “fight the Taliban with knowledge and education.” She is very excited to start that process through this new journey in Canada, where she will complete her high school education and pursue post-secondary studies.
Ms. Rezayee says that she is grateful to those in Canada who listen to the Afghan girls’ concerns about their education and to Shawnigan Lake School for providing Marina with the opportunity to complete her Grade 11 and 12 years. Marina will now have the chance to become the leader she wants to become.
Earlier this year, Shawnigan Lake School was able to work with the United World College network to help two Afghan girls get through the Taliban checkpoints in Kabul Airport and onto one of the last evacuation flights. They flew to Canada via Germany and settled in Toronto, where they are attending a local public school.
Ms. Rezayee and WLOT contacted Shawnigan Lake School to see if it could help Marina. The Head of School, Richard “Larry” Lamont, and the School were pleased to offer her a full scholarship and are honoured to welcome her as the newest member of their community.
“I am certain it is not the impact that we will have on her but the impact she will have on us – as she introduces us to her culture, her stories and her world,” said Mr. Lamont. “She has demonstrated incredible courage to come here to the other side of the world to continue her education.”
Marina receives an Impact Scholarship offered by Shawnigan Lake School – created to support students from conflict and post-conflict areas. She will be joined over the summer by two students from Ukraine who are leaving the upheaval in their country. Shawnigan Lake School has a strong tradition of taking students from Nepal, a post-conflict country, and has experienced the lasting impact the diversity of these scholars has had on the students and staff at the School over the years.
The School hopes that other schools will be motivated to help so that other girls like Marina can be equipped and empowered as tomorrow’s change leaders.
Women Leaders of Tomorrow is looking for mentors and English language tutors.
The goal is to connect each student with a mentor – someone who will walk with the student on their academic, athleticism, personal journey and make them feel that they have someone in their corner who will listen, provide support, guidance, and champion their academic and life endeavours.
As a mentor, your support can be vital in building a foundation for success that will last beyond these students’ academic and athletic achievements.
If you’re interested please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Women Leaders of Tomorrow is proudly sharing inspiring messages from young Afghan women who are dedicated to women’s education. She says “The path to freedom and advancement for Afghan women is awareness of their freedom and equality through education” – Mahnaz
And “As we progress in our education, we can prioritize our original rights and say no to ignorant minds” – Marina رهبری دختران افغانستان – ردا!
Shine bright like a diamond 💎. Our Judo athlete on the left is a shining star ⭐. She is working tirelessly to break the gender barrier imposed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. She believes in the power of sports for women and Women Leaders of Tomorrow believes in her.
We wish you all the best. Only sky is the limit. رهبری دختران افغانستان – ردا! 🥋💕🇦🇫💪 JUDOs IJF – International Judo Federation @GetUp&Fight
Women Leaders of Tomorrow is a firm believer of women’s education and sports. We have been vocal advocated after the collapse of the Afghan central government last year to the present day. We will continue until justice is served for the Afghan women athletes.
The ED of WLOT Friba Rezayee was invited to describe the current situation of the Afghan women athletes in Afghanistan by DW Deutsche Welle yesterday. She told DW that “The world has forgotten Afghanistan”. Here is the full article:
The founder and the Executive Director of Women Leaders of Tomorrow has appeared before the Special Committee at the House of Commons on March 28th, 2022.
She stressed on the issues and urgency of Afghan female athletes’ evacuation, student visa and study permits for those students who have received full ride scholarship offers & acceptance letters from universities in the Canada.
WLOT believes in the power of advocacy, social justice and and Human Rights.
Women Leaders of Tomorrow is looking for donations to purchase a laptop for one of our English language students to properly study. We currently have 320 CAD and need 250 USD to make it 500 USD in order to buy a new one as she beginning to study at college.
Your support and kindness will be greatly appreciated.
Sports have been a way of life for Afghan women. Life is light and light will always find it’s way out in darkness. WLOT’s GOAL project is proud of our Judoka @LatifaMuradi who is training tirelessly to save the legacy of Judo alive in Afghanistan.
Thank you #Japan for your kindness & solidarity for standing with Afghan women in our darkest hour. #Afg@Paris2024
This International Women’s Day, members and partners of Women Leaders of Tomorrow hosted a rally to stand with women in Afghanistan in Vancouver. We stood to ask for our rights back, rights to education, peace and work. The international community needs to the same to prioritize Human Rights and women’s.
We want #FoodWork&Freedom Beacon of Hope for Afghan Children #Judoforpeace #GOAL #BOH #WLOT
The Executive Director of Women Leaders of Tomorrow will be joining a panel discussion about Crisis in Afghanistan on February 15th, 2022 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at @UBC on International Development week. A prominent and successful journalist from Hasht-e-Subh newspaper Sohail Sanjar will be joining her. Join BC 4 Afghans at UBC and Global Lounge to learn about your role as a global citizen, and how can you help Afghanistan in our darkest hour.
Dear Human Rights women’s rights supporters. Women Leaders of Tomorrow along with our partner organizations have started an online public petition to ask the Canadian government to honor the promise to evacuate the at high risk Afghan female athletes into safety ASAP. Please sign the petition and show that you care about Afghan women! #StandWithAfghanWomen
The founder and the Executive Director of Women Leaders of Tomorrow will be speaking at University of Tomorrow panel discussion about the current Afghan refugee crisis and what can you do to help. Please register herehttps://t.co/r0SQIO1ztn
Afghan girls train, and we train hard. We dream and we dream victory. We fall, then we get up, we fail then we succeed, we get pushed back then we move fast forward. We’re the girls of Afghanistan and we lead! Judo Canada @JudoBC @IOC IJF – International Judo Federation @JudoFrance Afg@Paris2024OlympicGames رهبری دختران افغانستان – ردا!