Up to 60% of girls in Afghanistan are married by the age of 16. In poor, rural areas, 80% of those marriages are arranged, which often results in young females marrying men as old as 50 or 60. It's estimated 90% of women don't leave their home until they are married, their bodies must be guarded to protect virginity, ensure that their progeny are legitimately fathered, and even after they've been married off and move into a new home, they are still cooped up in the house. When Afghan women take action to escape victimization they are often victimized again. Women running away from home can be imprisoned, and rape victims can be convicted of adultery, or killed for compromising family honor. ¨At best, they may find refuge in a shelter, but that too is little better than a prison since it puts them in a limbo from which there is no easy exit¨ explains The Middle East Institute.
Families take their honor very seriously, for example how a young female was raped by a neighbor who had been taken into police custody for her own protection. Her family intended to kill her because the shame of her violation had compromised their honor. For most, shame leads to the rejection or elimination of the harmed woman or girl and also helps save face in suggesting to the despoiler that what was despoiled was not worth much to the family anyway. ¨ for most women, little has meaningfully changed since the days of the Taliban. It remains taboo for an Afghan woman to be seen in public without a burqa, although it is not required by law. Women and girls are still largely uneducated and confined to their homes, with few prospects for gainful employment. Girls are often the most marginalized and vulnerable ̈ says The Ray of Hope Foundation. Women in Afghanistan have little to no rights, being treated as objects instead of human beings, people acting as though they are prizes to be won over then too throw away, like they are disposable, having no say in what happens to them.
Today, there are over 300 female peace activists, trying to build a better community for their children and to make their voices heard. The fight for women's rights in Afghanistan is still going on, and it seems to be far from over.
Story by Emma Simpson
A football (soccer) stadium in Austria is now being turned into a forest. The project was designed and created by artist Klaus Littmann to spread awareness about climate change and deforestation. It was based off of a dystopian drawing of the same image, implying that soon, humans will only be able to view nature and wildlife in an enclosed and controlled area, like animals in a zoo. Deforestation rates sky-rocketed this year, so much so that in the Amazon rainforest, nearly 3 football fields worth of trees are being chopped down every minute, higher than it’s been in a decade.
According to CNN, just under three hundred trees were transported in from nearby nurseries to create the project. The tree variety is diverse, with tree species such as alder, aspen, white willow, hornbeam, field maple and common oak. The people who worked on the project say that they would like to be able to attract wildlife into the exhibit to fully complete the forest feeling. After the exhibition closes in October, the trees will be moved and replanted again.
It was made to “stir up a range of ideas and emotions,” says Littmann. “I have never worked with living beings before and I am absolutely aware that this cannot be compared to working with a sculpture, a photo or a painting.” Littmann’s main goal is to inspire and warn people about the effects of climate change. He wants the exhibit to stay in people’s minds. Hopefully, the exhibit will be able to show people a little bit more about the direction our world is going in, and spread awareness about the effects of climate change on the place that we call home.
Story by Maddie Tate
Other sources: BBC news and EcoWatch
Mount Everest is a 29,029 foot peak that hundreds of people climb each year. It is located on the border of Nepal and China. So many people plan on scaling the mountain that it overcrowds and is causing deaths.
It can take months and even years to prepare for climbing Everest. You have to train and climb other hard peaks like it first. Some of the companies that provide sherpas ask about your experience in climbing, but it’s not yet required to prove it. Once you’re ready to climb, you now have to decide which route to travel. There is a Southeast ridge from Nepal and a North Ridge from Tibet. Most people choose the supposedly easier Southeast route, which is where most of the crowding is happening. Now you can embark on your 2 month journey up Everest.
How does Mount Everest kill people? Well, with hundreds of people lined up to get to the top of the peak, you could be waiting for over 12 hours. With this can come lots of difficulties, such as altitude sickness. While scaling Everest, you have to stop to get used to the altitude. If you stop for too long, your breathing habits change and can cause dizziness, nausea, and even death. Because there are so many people at the peak, there is less room to get back down the mountain safely. Due to this, many people have slipped and fallen down the slope to their death.
Climbing Everest might sound like a quick goal to achieve, but as you learned it takes a lot of planning to even be able to go. There are lots of risks that come with climbing the mountain as well. If you plan on climbing to the peak of Everest, make sure you are choosing the right time of year, taking safety precautions, and you know the risks.
Story by Sarah Comer