From Kabul to Groningen
Mastoora Sultani is the founder of the Femina Foundation (left on picture above, next to Mnister Schippers of Public health, Welfare and Sports). Mastoora came to The Netherlands from Afghanistan in 2001.
Why did you found Femina?
Mastoora: “I fled for my life with my family from Afghanistan to the Netherlands in 2001. The Netherlands welcomed us with open arms and heart. Now I am a Dutchwoman who is proud on the Netherlands. Currently there is a lot of commotion in the society when it is about refugees and I understand the commotion. I believe that not only the Dutch society has to give, but that refugees and migrants also need to adjust to the values and norms that apply in the Netherlands.
Everything starts with integration, integration through participation. Participating in society, to stand open for another culture and changes. Not participating is not an option. Of course people do have a choice. But it is not that people who come to the Netherlands only have right, they also have duties! The Dutch Fundamental Law is the basis of the Dutch society and should be respected by everyone.
The Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race, gender or any other grounds whatsoever. That means that women in the Netherlands have the same rights and duties as men. Accepting and respecting the rights and duties is an important part of the integration into Dutch society.
Current programs in the field of integration are not always successful. From experience I know better than anyone what it takes to successfully integrate into Dutch society. From my background, I feel it as a duty to contribute to the integration, participation and empowerment of women who came to the Netherlands as a refugee or migrant. Women should be aware of their position and the effect on their families and society.
The integration and participation of women is not only important for their personal development, but also for the development and future of other family members and very important to mention, for the development of the Dutch society.”