Le Donne per le Donne (Women for Women), an aid project responding to the Afghan emergency

emergenza afghana

Photo by Anna Migotto

A bottom-up all-female chain of solidarity that offers concrete support to the Afghan people. “supersalone” is also involved. 

It emerged spontaneously, like a visceral reaction to the tragic images from Kabul showing tens of thousands of people prepared to do whatever it takes to escape the implacable advance of the Taliban. It is called “Le Donne per le Donne” (Women for Women) and, like all the best expressions of civil society, has reacted with empathy and pragmatism to support the plan for the reception of refugees launched by the government and the third sector with a material or financial contribution. As the name suggests, their intervention is aimed in particular at refugee women, doubly penalised under the new regime: as political opponents in the eye of the storm of possible retaliation, but also as targets for an obscurantism that denies women rights, visibility and opportunities to take part in an active life.   


“Le Donne per le Donne” came into being spontaneously thanks to word of mouth and is taking action on two levels. On one hand by financially supporting the extremely difficult mission of all the NGOs and institutions still present on Afghan soil to dispense food aid and oversee the provision of the few remaining essential services – health being one of them – that are still available in the country. On the other, by flanking the reception networks that over the next few days will have to manage the displaced refugees on Italian national soil, steering their gradual insertion into the country’s social, economic and cultural fabric.  Aside from dealing with the initial emergency, “Le Donne per le Donne” – which has already received 800 offers of help since 15th August – is already thinking about how to organise its activities long term, structuring its capacity for intervention as it embarks on a road that already promises to be not without difficulty, although full of opportunities and human contact.  


Thanks to the open and joint and several natures of the project, the design community has rallied with offers of support for the “Le Donne per le Donne” network. Silvia Robertazzi, the founder and curator of the Milano Design Film Festival, will introduce the “supersalone” audience to the mission of the group, raising the subject before the screening of the films forming part of the Open Talks programme. It will be an invaluable opportunity to reflect on and become involved with a different form of planning than that demanded by Design Week, yet more urgent than ever, necessary and vital.  “Le Donne per le Donne stemmed from an emotional reaction to what we were reading in the papers. So, we tried to organise ourselves and to expand our movement by encompassing the design world as well as doctors, lawyers and businesspeople, until we embraced a very broad and diverse civil society. We want to be a bridge that collects funds and provides help, through hospitality for example, or by assisting with bureaucratic and cultural matters. Obviously, this support goes over and above the gender identity of our beneficiaries – the network is called Le Donne per le Donne (Women for Women) because it wants to valorise the “female” part of humanity. Females that, in a country that has been exposed to and instructed in the unlawful validation of weapons, has been overwhelmed by the sort of violence that destroys women’s strength, their sensitivity and their way of thinking.” 



“Le Donne per le Donne” is open to anybody wishing to join its informal network. For those wishing to take part in the initiative, all it takes is an email to info@ledonnexledonne.org giving your name and surname, place of residence, email and telephone contact details and specifying the type of support you feel able to give.  

4 September 2021