SAHR is a multiethnic community of bold human rights defenders living across 6 continents and 14 countries and speaking 24 different languages. We are united by a shared vision of making gender justice a reality and we pride ourselves on being inclusive, curious and taking a bottom-up approach.
I was 17 years old when I first undertook a journey to Afghanistan alone to see for myself, what was known as the most dangerous place for women. This was the beginning of a decade-long relationship with the country and life-long quest for knowledge, in a struggle to redefine, reinterpret the
legal rights of women.
It was in Afghanistan that I saw the urgency for human rights work, especially in the field of Shariah law. Unlike where I come from, there were few materials equipping lawyers to defend human rights. At the appeal of an Afghan lawyer, I established SAHR.
Seldom are individual survivors of injustice advocates of their own cause. They are spoken about or spoken to. They do not define the agenda, define what human rights mean to them or define justice.
This is how SAHR is different.
For us, people are people. People are not projects.
We speak with and alongside people rather than about or to them.
It matters to us that we let individuals be advocates of their own causes.
It matters that we ask what justice looks like and feels like to them.
It matters that our work is guided by their lived realities and choices.
"I am interested in how women are saving us.
They're saving us by redefining and re-imagining a future that defies and blurs accepted polarities...like the ones between modernity and tradition, oppression and opportunity"
- Kavita Ramdas
We work in difficult environments, fraught with corruption, poor infrastructure, patriarchy and war.
The work can be disillusioning.
But tough places require tough fight.
At SAHR, we commit to ensuring that the individual is not lost, spoken over, or made into another statistic.
We do not claim to have all the solutions but we are willing to learn, explore, listen and secure justice in a way that means something to the individuals we work with.
Our team is a testimony to the big changes that can be made by a small team of dedicated people.
By providing innovative legal mentoring and disruptive advocacy platforms to survivors, women-at-risk, as well as lawyers and grassroots defenders, we open new pathways for more women and girls to come forward, speak, stand and rise up to achieve reparations and accountability.
This in turn is sparking a social movement to reform attitudes and policies, thus, the long-term impact our work is pervasive, touching on the most basic rights, including education, basic healthcare, and dignified work.
We do our work because we see a real need for a shift in human rights work.
We LOVE what we do, and we are good at it.