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World Impoverished Afghan women are receiving emergency aid in crypto as the Taliban limits cash withdrawals and millions go hungry

13:57  23 january  2022
13:57  23 january  2022 Source:   businessinsider.com

Taliban fighters pepper spray women protesters calling for rights

  Taliban fighters pepper spray women protesters calling for rights Taliban forces on Sunday fired pepper spray at a group of women protesters in Afghanistan's capital demanding rights to work and education, three demonstrators told AFP. Since seizing control of the country by force in August, the Taliban authorities have imposed creeping restrictions on Afghans, especially on women. The protest however was later dispersed by the Taliban fighters who arrived at the scene in several vehicles, three women protesters told AFP."When we were near Kabul University three Taliban vehicles came, and fighters from one of the vehicles used pepper spray on us," said a protester, who asked not to be named for security reasons.

Girls learn to code at the Code to Inspire school in Herat, Afghanistan. Fereshteh Forough © Fereshteh Forough Girls learn to code at the Code to Inspire school in Herat, Afghanistan. Fereshteh Forough
  • Desperate Afghans are struggling to withdraw cash as the economy crumbles under the Taliban.
  • The founder of a coding school for Afghan women told Insider that her students' families were going hungry.
  • She devised an innovative solution — sending emergency payments to them in the form of crypto.

Afghanistan's economic collapse due to US sanctions and a shortage of cash as the Taliban chokes of bank withdrawals means millions of people can't afford to buy food or medicine.

But Fereshteh Forough, a New Hampshire-based Afghan social activist and founder of Code to Inspire, has devised an inventive workaround to help support needy students at her Herat coding school.

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She's sending them cryptocurrency.

Fereshteh Forough, the founder of Code to Inspire, is pictured. Fereshteh Forough © Fereshteh Forough Fereshteh Forough, the founder of Code to Inspire, is pictured. Fereshteh Forough

Forough set up the Code to Inspire school in Herat, Afghanistan, in 2015, to educate the city's young women about computer programming and becoming financially independent.

It was a success. Forough told Insider that more than 350 female students learned how to code, and close to 65% of graduates found jobs in their communities — many becoming their household's sole earner.

But it all changed when the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021.

"The girls texted me that all of them had lost their jobs because of the Taliban's policies," Forough said. "And as the sole breadwinners, their families were falling apart."

Afghanistan: Taliban military parade after events in the northwest

 Afghanistan: Taliban military parade after events in the northwest L ES Taliban stood out of their military force by scrolling on Sunday of their heavily armed fighters in Maymana (Northwest), where clashes With the local people of Uzbèke Ethnicity had taken place on weekends. of the events had been triggered in the city, capital of the Province of Faryab, by the arrest of a Taliban commander of Origin Ouzbèke, for his presumed involvement in a kidnapping.

Afghans are unable to withdraw large sums of cash

The economy in Afghanistan is in collapse.

The value of the currency tanking combined with the price of household essentials rocketing has led to widespread food insecurity, Insider reported. With foreign aid suspended, an overwhelming majority (98%) of Afghans don't have enough to eat, according to the World Food Programme.

The situation is particularly "horrifying" for the nation's women, Forough said, many of whom have been forced out of jobs and into poverty.

On top of being desperately hungry, she explained that many of her female students have struggled to pay for medicine and internet access.

Forough said she wanted to send emergency payments to these women, but, frustratingly, most of her transactions were blocked by Western Union and JPMorganChase. Once some of the money did eventually go through, often, her students were unable to withdraw cash at local banks.

Taliban arrest fighter who shot dead Hazara woman at checkpoint

  Taliban arrest fighter who shot dead Hazara woman at checkpoint A Taliban fighter has been arrested for shooting dead a Hazara woman at a checkpoint in the Afghan capital as she returned from a wedding, a spokesman for the group said Wednesday. Abdullahi was "killed by mistake", Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said on Twitter, adding the arrested fighter would be punished. Her family has been offered 600,000 Afghani (around $5,700) for the January 13 shooting in the capital's Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood, the interior ministry said separately.Some women's rights activists have staged small protests in Kabul since Abdullahi's killing, demanding justice."When we heard of Zainab's murder we got afraid.

Bank withdrawals are severely limited due to a shortage of paper money and the Taliban being unable to get its hands on the Afghan central bank's almost $10 billion in reserves that US sanctions have frozen.

A Taliban fighter secures the area as people queue to receive cash at a money distribution site organized by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Petros Giannakouris/AP © Petros Giannakouris/AP A Taliban fighter secures the area as people queue to receive cash at a money distribution site organized by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Petros Giannakouris/AP

As The Intercept first reported, Forough came up with an ingenious solution — sending emergency aid payments using cryptocurrency.

"We found that actually there are a bunch of local money exchanges in the financial district of Herat that are accepting crypto and they can cash it out for you in either afghanis or dollars," she said.

She helped her students create Binance accounts

Code to Inspire selected 100 of the neediest students and built a relationship with Binance — the world's largest crypto exchange — which agreed to sponsor three months of cash assistance to the students.

"We then helped all 100 girls to create a Binance account through Trust Wallet," Forough said.

interest rates presses bitcoin under $ 40,000

 interest rates presses bitcoin under $ 40,000 the prospect of a significantly tighter monetary policy in the US is increasingly going to digital currencies such as Bitcoin. © Nicolas Armer / DPA Bitcoin is the oldest and market value largest crypto system. (Symbol picture) On Friday, the price of the oldest and market value largest crypto system fell to the deepest level since last August. In the meantime, Bitstamp 38.259 US dollars were marked on the trading platform. The day before the course had just over $ 43,000.

At first, she explained, it was "very difficult" because many of them didn't have smartphones or lacked the technological literacy needed to create a wallet. But Code to Inspire put out an educational video to teach them how to.

Now some of the girls, she explained, have the crypto knowledge to immediately convert Binance to Tether USD (USDT) to try and circumvent massive fluctuations in value. USDT, as with other stablecoins, is pegged to the US dollar and is considered less volatile than other cryptocurrencies.

Forough said that donating cryptocurrencies holds many advantages for the women in Afghanistan, including a reduced risk in the money being confiscated.

"And if they got displaced from Afghanistan or any part of Afghanistan, they can also carry their finances with themselves everywhere they go," she continued. "That, to me, is empowering."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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