Celebrating Ten Years

As a grassroots non-profit organization based in Peterborough, Canada, we support the education of women and girls in Afghanistan through proceeds raised from the sale of Red Pashminas and other fashion accessories, in partnership with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.

We also celebrate and encourage a diversity of women in our local community here in Canada, while emphasizing their commonalities and connections with women in Afghanistan and throughout the world.

We believe that the road to freedom and peace is built with education, global solidarity, and shared growth.


As the heightened tragedies of the past year continue to unfold in Afghanistan and be felt around the globe, Red Pashmina stands in solidarity with Afghan people, both within their homeland and elsewhere, who continue to experience the horrors of decades-long violence and deprivation. We also express our support for the many groups and individuals working tirelessly to help relieve not only the impacts of the current crisis but the longstanding burdens that the Taliban’s takeover has laid bare to the world – especially the plight of women and girls.

As we mark more than a decade since Red Pashmina’s beginnings, and while there is much to celebrate about the organization’s contributions in Afghanistan as well as the Peterborough and Canadian communities over the past decade, it is clear that our mandate now remains as needed as ever, and that our responsibilities are still firmly ahead.

We have taken time to absorb these new realities, to learn about the advocacy being done by leading initiatives, and to consider how Red Pashmina is now best able to serve. As we continue to do so, we invite you to support our longtime partner, Canadian Women For Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), through your purchase of our products. CW4WAfghan is currently focused on adapting and continuing to deliver its educational programs where possible, while campaigning for the human rights of the country’s women and girls. We are also committed to working with CW4WAfghan’s Peterborough chapter in supporting the local resettlement of Afghan refugees.

As people across Afghanistan now face a crisis of poverty, mass hunger and starvation resulting from a collapsed economy, international sanctions, climate change, and displacement, Red Pashmina will be donating a portion of its sales money directly to emergency, on-the-ground humanitarian measures that are helping to save lives and alleviate suffering this winter. In doing so, we will be able to contribute what we can to both food distribution and critical healthcare services throughout the country during what has been called a “race against time.” We are deeply saddened by the situation facing Afghan civilians – including a disproportion of women and children – who again are bearing the cost of political maneuvering outside of their control. But we know we have a responsibility to stand with and publicize their need for the necessities of life at this time, so that they have the chance to build the kind of lives and society that they greatly deserve.

We look forward to sharing further ways through which Red Pashmina will encourage new light in Afghanistan’s future, while also showing that the progress of women and girls there is allied with the progress of women and girls here.

For over a decade, residents of Peterborough and beyond have taken up a red scarf as a visible symbol of not only connection with people half a world away, but of the commonalities that Afghan women share with those of the Peterborough community in spite of their obvious differences. During this time of adversity for Afghanistan, and amid the gender-based burdens in our own neighbourhoods that have been intensified by the pandemic, we hope you will continue to join us in this same spirit of solidarity and the belief that local and global change are best made alongside each other.

2010 to Today

From its first campaign’s launch at the 2010 Santa Claus Parade, onward to yearly Red Pashmina Walks hosted by CW4WA Peterborough; multiple Women of Impact series; collaborations with like-minded events, agencies and local vendors; and its incorporation as a not-for-profit organization, Red Pashmina has been made possible by its home community.

In coming together to address injustices half a world away, Peterborough has also spurred new connections among everyday women of its own area. Through their sharing of personal stories, hardships and triumphs, they have shed light on the common needs behind each of their dreams, as well as those of women in Afghanistan and beyond.

  • Red Pashmina Campaign co-founders, Jess Melnik and Maryam Monsef

It is through this framework that we aim to not only contribute to tangible advancements in the lives of women and girls, but to inspire unified, empowered community within neighbourhoods and across oceans ― all the while showing that global and local change, in their best sense, are interwoven with one another.

The purposes of CW4WAfghan are to alleviate conditions of poverty in Afghanistan through programs that advance education and educational opportunities for women in Afghanistan and their families; and to educate and increase the understanding of Canadians about human rights in Afghanistan.

“Education is, quite simply, peace-building by another name. It is the most effective form of defense spending there is.”

-Kofi Annan

Red Pashmina Campaign co-founders, Jess Melnik and Maryam Monsef
In gratitude to
Red Pashmina Campaign
co-founders, Jessica Melnik and Maryam Monsef

Red Pashmina” Is An Incorporated Brand Name and May Not Be Used Without Permission of Red Pashmina Inc.’s Board of Directors