Trent Student Groups Raise $5,000 to Support Afghani Widows


Funds Raised by Local Groups for Afghanistan Challenge to be Matched by Federal Government and Account for Half of National Fundraising Goal

Wednesday, December 2, 2009, Peterborough

Several student groups at Trent University have come together to raise more than $5,000 for the Afghanistan Challenge, a national campaign to raise awareness and funds for a vocational training project for Afghan widows, accounting for over half of the $9,000 nationwide fundraising goal.

Every dollar raised through the Afghanistan Challenge will be matched by the federal government. The money will support training for Afghani widows in an effort to create more substantial and sustainable livelihoods. The project, which is being run in Afghanistan by WUSC in partnership with CARE Canada and CARE Afghanistan, involves educational modules and on-the-job training for Afghans, by Afghans, in the capital city, Kabul.

“When we decided to do the Afghanistan Challenge and support the vocational training project, we didn’t know that campaign would expand as much as it did,” said Xochilt Hernandez, co-chair of the Trent chapter of World University Services of Canada (WUSC) which led the project. “We were really fortunate to have the support of so many groups. We learned and we grew with the other groups, because we all have different capacities, and different approaches.”

The Trent chapter of WUSC partnered with the Trent Central Student Association, the Trent Muslim Students’ Association, Middle Eastern Students’ Association, Trent Undergraduate Politics Society, New Canadians Centre, Ontario Public Interest Research Group and Trent Active Minds to present the Afghanistan Challenge. Trent alumna, Hana Mohamed, also played a large role in the campaign.

A cornerstone of the fundraising campaign was the sale of red pashminas to honour the sacrifice of Afghani civilians during the ongoing war and occupation. At a dinner attended by members of the Trent and Peterborough communities, and featuring local Liberal candidate Betsy McGregor and an Afghani widow as keynote speakers, the project found new support from a local businessman. Thanks to the generosity of this donor, the red pashminas will be here for a bit longer and the fundraising will continue.

“We succeeded in involving the community, students and some faculty. It is really uplifting to see so many people wearing the scarves around Trent,” Xochilt said.

To learn more about WUSC or the vocational training project, and find out how to contribute to the Afghanistan Challenge, visit the Trent WUSC website at


For more information, please contact:
Bianca De Castro, Co-Chair, Trent WUSC, (705) 874-8064