Letter from Manizha Naderi bidding us farewell and welcoming in her successor, Najia Nasim, as WAW’s new Executive Director
Dear WAW Board, Staff, Donors, Colleagues, Volunteers, Stakeholders, and Friends:
Words cannot adequately express what it has meant to me to have served as the Executive Director of Women for Afghan Women (WAW) for the past 17 years. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to have worked with all of you to make this organization what it is today: the largest human rights organization in Afghanistan and the largest Afghan women’s rights organization in the world. What we have built together is simple and humble, yet strong and powerful. Most of all it is full of love—and a labor of love it remains.
Serving as Executive Director of WAW—working side-by-side with so many inspiring leaders and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our brave and resilient clients—has been the greatest honor of my life. Together, we have built an organization that literally saves lives, changes lives, and empowers lives. Our once entirely volunteer-run group has now grown to over 800-strong, transformed Afghanistan and the world, and continues to make it a better place for so many Afghan women, girls, children, and their families.
Since 2001, we have been running a relay marathon together. One that requires patience, strength, determination, and endurance. However, the time has come for me to pass the baton. I can walk away from my post with all the confidence in the world that the woman who will lead WAW in this next stage of the journey, Najia Nasim, will take the organization to new heights, build on past successes, and multiply the impact WAW has in Afghanistan, in the United States–in New York and Washington, DC–, and around the world. I could not ask for a better successor. I know she will do right by the organization, our clients, staff, board, donors, and stakeholders, and by the positive legacy that I hope I leave with WAW and with Najia.
Of course, as you all know, I am only leaving my current position. However, WAW will always be a part of my life and of my heart. I will always be with you.
My tenure with WAW is filled with too many memories, successes, setbacks, tragedies, triumphs and tenacity to enumerate in a single letter. As I sign-off, for the last time, as WAW’s Director, I am proud that the organization today is stronger, larger, and more impactful than when I first walked in the door as a volunteer. I am full of gratitude to the unbelievably dedicated staff that risk life and limb to serve survivors of gender-based violence and work so tirelessly to shift cultural attitudes that have repressed women for far too long.
Farewells are always painful, but I am sure that this is not only the right thing to do for my family and me, but also for WAW. I am comforted to walk leave this inspiring organization to which I have dedicated my whole heart with the knowledge that—thankfully—it will continue to change and better the world for many, many years to come.
I thank every single one of you for allowing me to be a part of this incredible journey. I am so proud and humbled to have worked in this position for as long as I have.
As I bid you farewell and before my tenure as WAW’s Executive Director comes to an end, I ask you to help us meet our 2018 appeal target of $125,000 in a show of support to WAW and to Najia, as she steps forward in 2019 to lead this amazing organization into the future.
Thank you, with all my love and with all my heart. I look forward to seeing the wonderful achievements WAW will attain during this next chapter under Najia’s leadership!