SNL’s Rachel Dratch Shares Poetry for Afghan Women – in Brooklyn

Brooklyn, N.Y. Last weekend (1/ 21-22) the cities of New York and Kabul shared more than snow and their oddly similar characteristics of traffic jams, cultural diversity and general chaos. New Yorkers could hear the writings of women in Afghanistan which have been encouraged and supported by the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP), a remarkable community of American women writers who conduct secure online writing workshops for women in Afghanistan.

Comedians for Change rehearsal for 1/21 and 1/22 Performances (all photos courtesy AWWP).
These workshops are supported by a volunteer staff from diverse professional backgrounds, organizing the workshops, running the website and providing essential organizational support.

Rachel Dratch of Saturday Night Live shared the
poetry of Afghan women on Sunday 22nd January.

The Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP) was founded in 2009 by Brooklyn resident and award-winning writer Masha Hamilton. Many of the Afghan women writers whose work is being shared this weekend participate in secret, hiding laptops under burqas or walking hours through Taliban territory to upload their assignments, according to the organization.

Afghan women studying at a university in Kabul.


The AWWP has also opened a safe space at an undisclosed location in Kabul where participants gather, write, and share stories. Their work is published at

“We think nothing of the freedom to blog, tweet, Facebook, and Tumblr every detail of our day. For the women of the AWWP, some of whom literally hide their laptops under their burqas, writing about their lives is an act of incredible bravery — and an inspiring gift to all of us. Everyone should hear what they have to say,” said Rachel Dratch.

Other performers included Jessica DeBruin, Corinne Fisher, Dawn J. Fraser, Chrissie Gruebel, Stephanie Masucci, Tracy Mull, Roopa Singh, and Katie Sullivan.

Girls reading and sharing in Afghanistan.

“The AWWP believes that the right to tell one’s story aloud is a human right,” said AWWP executive director Elisabeth Lehr. “Women writers in Afghanistan and female improv comics in New York have not shared the same set of challenges. But they are all women who by definition go against the grain, forge creative connections with others, and speak with candor, courage and humor.”

Proceeds from the Brooklyn event series will benefit the AWWP, helping pay rent on the writers’ secure space in Kabul and providing them with computers and Internet service.



AWWP Website

AWWP Presents Website






The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation ( There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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