Ever since Farida Rahim Aziz first established her radio station in 2013 in Jowzjan, Afghanistan, she has never looked back – even though the years that followed were burdened with hardship and challenges.
“In 2016, the Taliban threatened me and told me to stop broadcasting radio programs about women’s right issues, such as violence against women. I was forced to wear a burqa for my own safety and all our female employees left. But I did not give up.”
Farida had to relocate the station multiple times, but under her leadership, Radio Saraish continues, producing content and broadcasting to audiences in Jowzjan and Sar-e-Pul.
Radio Saraish is one of the 17 women-led radio stations of the Salam Watandar Radio Network, supported by Internews’ Rasana Program. These stations have produced and broadcast more than 400 radio reports and feature stories, covering topics that relate to women in local communities.
“The support of the Rasana program was very important, as it gave us an opportunity to recruit a female journalist and build her capacity to reflect the voices of women in our community. The reports we have produced under Rasana so far have had tangible impact on our society and brought change in the minds of people, as they all focus on women’s issues,” said Farida.
“For example, when we broadcast a report on women drivers and the absence of driving schools for women in Jowzjan, it created great interest. Some weeks later a driver training course was conducted for women from which 30 passed out successfully – the first female drivers of Jowzjan!”
“These are the achievements that motivate me to keep running the radio station even though we often face difficult times due to security issues or financial problems. In the meantime, I will continue to work as a leader of women in the media and encourage other Afghan women to do the same.”
Internews’ Rasana project in Afghanistan is supported by USAID.
(Banner photo: Farida Rahim Azizi, Director of Radio Saraish in Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan. Credit: Internews)