Two of the women who lost their husbands during the 9/11 terrorist attack are reaching out to Afghani widows. They have taken the money they’ve received to compensate for their loss and they’ve set up a foundation to help others.
Patti Quigley and Susan Retik were dealing with their own grief when they saw Oprah Winfrey’s show on the plight of Afghani women. They felt a bond with the widows who lost their husbands fighting Afghanistan’s many wars–some of them widowed by the terrorist group that Quigley and Retik lost their husbands to. When the Afghani women became widowed, their sole means of support vanished and they lived in abject poverty. Both women felt that despite their losses they had been given so much and their counterparts in Afghanistan who were going through the same experience had so little.
Quigley and Retik decided to do something about it. They founded a group called Beyond the 11th in 2003. Their group works in conjunction with CARE, Women for Woemn International, and Arzu Rugs. The latter teaches women how to weave rugs so that they will have a means of supporting themselves and their children.
They have donated most of the money they received after 9/11 to help these women. They’ve also held fundraisers which have brought in close to $325,000.
They don’t just donate money and leave it at that. Quigley and Retik have been on the front lines, so to speak. Both recently went to Kabul, Afghanistan to see things first hand. They spent six days visiting villages and meeting the women they were helping.
Quigley and Retik believe they can make a better case now that they’ve seen the living conditions of Kabul’s people. They have seen first hand just how badly these women need aid.