Supporting Afghan women resettled in the US to build community and reconnect with their shared purpose

Teresa Casale
Teresa Casale
February 15, 2024
Photo Credit: Archewell Foundation

On Saturday, Mina’s List and The Archewell Foundation brought together 15 Afghan women for a powerful afternoon of communal cooking and storytelling. The event was part of the foundation’s Welcome Project, which supports Afghan women who have resettled in the United States to build connection and community.

Mina’s List has brought together these particular women in Southern California because of their backgrounds in political leadership, journalism, and women’s rights activism. They are part of a wave of women who were forced to flee Afghanistan when the Taliban took power in August 2021. For many years, they risked their safety to create a more just and inclusive society—working to promote peace, democracy, women’s rights, human rights, and education.  

Now resettled in the United States, this program is supporting them to find community with each other and reconnect with their shared purpose.

During the event, the women shared their stories with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, who co-founded The Archewell Foundation with Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex. Shahba Shahrukhi told the Duchess about her experience running for parliament in Afghanistan in 2018, having received training in campaigning skills from Mina’s List. Now based in Southern California, Ms. Shahrukhi is supporting other refugees as a caseworker for the Los Angeles International Rescue Committee.

Like Shahba, all of the women in the Welcome Project seek to translate the skills they gained in Afghanistan to the United States. As they do so, they will build new networks with other Afghan women leaders and a sense of belonging with each other.  

As Palwasha Hassan, Senior Technical and Program Director at Mina’s List, shared in her remarks, the program’s inclusion of communal cooking helps foster this bond. She noted that in Afghan culture, cooking together is an important way for women to create a safe space and build resilience. She added that continuing this tradition in their new environment will help them rebuild their trust and confidence moving forward.

As the program continues over the coming months, Mina’s List will carry out a series of training workshops to help the women build on their existing advocacy skills. The sessions will help the women gain greater background and understanding on how to conduct advocacy specifically in the U.S. context.

In her opening remarks at the event, Mina’s List Executive Director, Teresa Casale, shared how this program connects with the organization’s mission. She noted, “Mina’s List was created because we believe in the power of women. We have had a strong focus on Afghanistan where we have partnered with women leaders in government and civil society. Today, we are advocating for and with these women wherever they are, including in the United States. We are thrilled to launch our first U.S. program with the support and partnership of The Archewell Foundation.”


Teresa Casale
Teresa Casale
Executive Director