This film tells the extraordinary story of the Afghan Youth Women’s National Football Team and their remarkable escape from Afghanistan after the Taliban took power in 2021.

WhatsApp, the leading global private messaging service, and The Lab, the creative incubator within the award-winning production company Anonymous Content, announced the release of their new documentary, “We Are Ayenda.” The documentary debuted during the Women’s World Cup and is now available on Prime Video.

The half-hour film, adapted and produced by The Lab and directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Amber Fares, showcases the bravery of these young women and their determination to continue playing the sport they love. The documentary aims to raise awareness of the challenges people face when forced to migrate and highlights the power of sport to unite people. It reveals the profound relationship between Farkhunda Muhtaj, the former captain of Afghanistan’s women’s national football team and a humanitarian activist, and the members of the women’s youth team.

Despite never having met in person, Farkhunda led the young women to safety through WhatsApp texts and voice messages, which are woven throughout the documentary to retell their story. “These incredible young women just want to continue competing in football and aspire to achieve their dreams,” said Farkhunda Muhtaj. “To help them escape successfully, I knew the stakes were extremely high for secure communication. If something was intercepted, whether it be their passports or IDs, not only would the mission be jeopardized but everyone’s life would be at risk.”

“From the moment we first shared this story with the WhatsApp team, we were all in awe of the girls and Farkhunda,” said Zac Ryder, Executive Producer at The Lab. “Everyone was on the same page that our number one job was to honor them and their families, which meant telling the story as authentically as possible. It takes a very brave client to sign up for something like that. We’re so fortunate to be working with such thoughtful, committed partners.” Vivian Odior, Global Head of Marketing at WhatsApp, added, “We are honored to support these brave women who are an inspiration to everyone pursuing their dreams.” The film captures the sheer determination and unwavering spirit of these young athletes, offering a unique perspective into their lives.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, women and girls have been denied their human rights, including the right to go to school, work, and play sports. According to UN estimates, eight million Afghans have been displaced from their homes due to violence, including millions of refugees now living abroad.


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Cannes Lions 2024

  • Entertainment Grand Prix
  • Gold in Entertainment
  • Gold in Entertainment Lions for Sport
  • Silver in Film
  • Bronze in Outdoor

Brand: WhatsApp, Palo Alto. Global Head of Marketing: Vivian Odior. Idea Creation: Creative X Palo Alto, Modern Arts Los Angeles and The Lab (the creative incubator within the award-winning production company Anonymous Content). Production Company: Even Odd San Francisco.

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