“I stand on the sacrifice of a million women before me thinking how I can make this mountain bigger”
– Rupi Kaur
In the coming months, Young Pioneer Tours will be the first travel agency to head a women’s-only tour to Afghanistan. For most, travelling to the nation, particularly a woman, sends shivers down their spine. Understandably, at present, there seems to be no issue more controversial and polarising than Women’s rights in Afghanistan since the Taliban took control in May 2021.
The catalogue of images and stories that have come to symbolise this period of US forces moving out and the Taliban moving in sent shockwaves across the globe. Impossible and for a worthy cause to forget the images of Afghans packed into US C-130 transport planes like sardines; more graphic, those of men falling from the plane engines. While many contemplated how we ended here, the bigger question seemed to be the future for women, given the Taliban’s history.
Nearly two years later, we still await a clear answer; at best, the message is blurred and unlikely to become transparent soon. Yet, while the Taliban and West fight out their ideologies, one thing is apparent – hope for women is shaken.
So why would Young Pioneer Tours add a women-only trip to our 2023 lineup? The exact reasons and ethos that brought this company to life – regulate information, strive for unique experiences and remind ourselves and each other that behind the television screens are people just like us, whose lives we may not understand but who we can touch simply through engagement.
So why a women’s only trip?
Spoiler alert the person behind the idea is, in fact, a woman. While, as humans, we have the capacity to understand others without actual experience, the Taliban takeover is distressing. Especially hard to conceive as a woman. For many of us, the unimaginably brave who face persecution for their right to human dignity, on the one hand, reminds us how far we have come and, on the other, how far we are yet to go.
Our tour is not to move mountains or without direction; it is a carefully crafted, immersive experience in a beautiful and complex country. The main goal is simple – deeply understand women’s lives in Afghanistan. In return, you may come to deeper understand yourself, your inherent burdens, and your privileges to go on and strive for better. This trip will undoubtedly educate you, challenge stereotypes and show you a different side of this misunderstood nation – good and bad. Despite its reputation, Afghanistan has a rich history and culture full of breathtaking attractions and kind, welcoming people who are genuinely excited to meet you.
Is it safe for women to visit?
This question is the elephant in the room grounded in genuine concern and interest. The idea of visiting can be daunting, and open-mindedness and experience are a must. To minimise risk, we have minimum spaces to allow entry and ensure those selected know the current political climate. In doing so, we respect all local customs and work alongside trusty local partners and, yes, the Taliban. At Young Pioneers, we ensure careful planning and all necessary safety precautions to aid a rewarding trip.
We can’t move mountains on this tour, but we can take little steps forward through experience and education; we can look back and see how far we have come and strive for the summit moving forward.
If you are interested in joining our trip, please send an enquiry to email@example.com and let us know why you wish to join.