On this giving Tuesday, I am so happy to share a story of hope and resilience for Afghan girls.  A surprising but welcome partnership between Afghan former women’s soccer captain Khalida Popal and social media influencer and business mogul Kim Kardashian, delivered Afghan girl soccer players the win of their lives by liberating them from the Taliban.

Former Afghan women’s soccer captain, Khalida Popal.

The story of Afghan women and girls made headlines last summer with the takeover of the Taliban.  I wrote about Ascend, the Afghan girls climbing and leadership group, and its courageous and successful efforts to escape the country with the help of its Director, Marina LeGree, who I interviewed on my podcast.  It is an inspiring story and I am so happy these girls were able to escape.  But what about those who were left behind?  Now that the desperate images of people at the gates of Kabul airport are no longer the top story, some forget that there is still much work to be done to help young women flee from existing or imminent abuse at the hands of the Taliban.

Thankfully, they are not forgotten and many in the private sector are teaming up to continue the fight for freedom.  Since the departure of American troops, Khalida Popal has continued working to free the Afghan women’s youth development soccer team.  The girls, families, and coaches have spent the last few months in hiding and evading the Taliban.  Some of their families were reportedly captured or killed.  Khalida and the international community’s efforts, including the ROKiT Foundation, a New York rabbi, and others, helped get the girls to Pakistan.

But the girls’ visas were running out and they were in danger of being sent back to Afghanistan.  That’s when Kim Kardashian and her company stepped in and paid for travel to London where 130 teens, coaches, and family recently arrived where they are starting a new life with the British Leeds soccer team even offering to sponsor them to play.

On this giving Tuesday, this story serves as a great reminder of how no issue is too big to tackle and no person is too small make a positive difference.  Working together, we all have a power to score some goals!

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