Sharbat Gula, an Afghan woman who was popular in the 1980s. PHOTO/Mecropress
McCurry took a photo of Sugar in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in 1984 and the photo was on the cover of National Geographic magazine the following year. Two decades later, McCurry managed to find Sugar when he returned to Afghanistan. Now, Gula is 49 years old.
Steve McCurry said he was grateful for the humanitarian gesture of the Italian government, Future Brilliance’s operational excellence, and the generous financial support of Metagood.
“This is the most incredible news to receive on Thanksgiving Day,” said Bonnie McCurry, Steve’s sister who was involved in the operation.
“This is truly a godsend. This rescue mission has been a group effort since its inception. This is a dream come true. Sharbat is very grateful to the Italian people, and we are all very grateful to the Italian government for their support and generosity.”
Prime Minister Matio Dragui’s office said his government arranged for Sugar’s transfer to Italy following requests from NGOs active in Afghanistan, and within the framework of the Afghan government’s evacuation, acceptance and integration programme.
The Italian government, one of several Western countries to have evacuated Afghans since the Taliban took over the country last August, said Gula’s photo “symbolizes the change and chapter of conflict in Afghan history that its people are currently experiencing”.
British-American charities Future Brillance and NFT for Social Good Platform Metagood have responded to Sharbat Gula’s call for help leaving their country. Future Brillance is a dynamic, women-led non-profit organization that promotes stabilization in vulnerable communities through workforce and enterprise development.
Since August 2021, they have supported safe travel for more than 300 Afghans, mainly women and children.