The Shoe Project announces first international workshop to assist Afghan girls stranded in Pakistan

What We're Doing Now

January 5, 2022

TORONTO (January 5, 2022) — The Shoe Project announces its first international workshop, assisting 60 schoolgirls aged 18 to 25, evacuated from Afghanistan to Pakistan. They will be mentored by Canadian writers and performance coaches of The Shoe Project to write and perform their stories.

The girls are former students of the Marefat High School in Kabul, an institution renowned for empowering young Afghan women. 450 of them made the perilous journey overland to Islamabad, Pakistan. Of those, 250 have been admitted to Canada and resettled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The remainder of the group waits in limbo and is interested in participating in The Shoe Project workshop while they seek reunion with their group in Saskatoon. The young women are Hazara, a persecuted minority, and were rising stars in their school for academic excellence, athletic prowess, and musical talent. Their journey is being assisted by the 30 Birds Foundation:

“Vulnerable girls have fled their homes and left families in order to use their education to build a better life. They are in a hostel in Islamabad, awaiting visas. We understand that the process takes time,” said Katherine Govier, one of Canada’s best-known authors, who founded the women-led, non-profit writing and performance initiative ten years ago. “But we must fill this gap productively. We have offered our program as a way to process the fearful journey they have taken thus far and to help them prepare for new homes. We hope those homes are in Canada.”

The online workshop will commence on January 17, 2022 with mentors Caroline Adderson and Nan Hughes Poole and others. Assistant mentors in Pakistan will also work with the women.

The workshop will culminate in an online performance in March, 2022 where the young women will share their incredible stories.