The 30 Birds Foundation
30 Birds is rebuilding pathways for Afghan girls to learn, lead, and live freely.
After the fall of Kabul, 30 Birds partnered with student leaders from Marefat High School, one of Afghanistan’s first coed schools, to evacuate the school’s most at-risk girls and their community. These girls were targeted because of their public support for democracy and human rights. Determined to continue their education, the girls played an active role in coordinating their own escape. Under duress, moving in small numbers from city to city and past Taliban checkpoints, we helped more than 450 Afghans - schoolgirls, family members and various activists for female education - safely across the border and onwards to Canada, the United States, and other countries in Europe and South America.
Building on our success, we at 30 Birds are dedicated to ensuring that Afghan girls are able to thrive, regardless if they are calling a new country home, or if they are still in Afghanistan. To do so, we have implemented four major programs:
1. Education in Afghanistan and Pathways to Safety: Despite the challenges faced by women and girls in Afghanistan under the Taliban's education bans, we have partnered with Afghan educators to enable 3,200 girls to access education through underground schools within Afghanistan. Additionally, we are actively working on helping the top 60-90 students from these schools to safely leave Afghanistan each year, primarily via University acceptance abroad. We provide essential support, including assistance with university applications, visas, and scholarships.
2. Mentorship Program: Our girls risked their lives for education and professional aspirations, but now face the challenge of starting over primarily in Canada, where their prior credentials are not recognized. To ensure their long-term success, we have developed a mentorship program with established leaders from prestigious institutions, offering individualized guidance to accelerate their educational and professional goals.
3. Education Program: Our refugees Education Program is designed to support Afghan girls' education through a full suite of services that follows the girls through every stage of their academic career – from identifying programs and schools, to managing every aspect of the application process, to funding scholarships for tuition, to flexible support to help them stay in school.
4. Mental Health Program: Many of our girls are just now starting to process the huge span of emotions they are feeling – from deep gratitude for being alive, to survivor’s guilt when they think of those left behind. Our Mental Health Program will help them process these complex feelings, It has four main components: (1) Small group peer support; (2) Community Centre; (3) On the ground expertise; (4) Micro-grants for maximally flexible needs; and (5) Intentional culture of mental health.