AN expert in violence and conflict resolution spoke to members of a Darlington women’s group at a recent meeting.

Jackie Palling, assistant programme director in violence and conflict resolution for Soroptimist International (SI), developed a love for Afghanistan after a trip to the country several years ago.

She has since returned to the country many times, carrying out humanitarian work.

Forced marriage is common in Afghanistan, along with rape, trafficking and abduction, all often endured in silence.

Education is banned for girls, but many still attend schools, despite the danger, to learn, gain opportunities and improve their chances in life.

SI is lobbying for equal rights in Afghanistan and is working to enable women in the country to make their voices heard.

For more information about SI, including local group details, visit