Went to Kabul

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Went to Kabul

In May 2015 I went to Kabul to help the two selected girls’ schools – Sir Asia and Nahjube Herawe – with basic school equipment. We had the possibility to help only 200 primary school pupils with the money we had collected so far. We decided to fill 100 school backpacks per school, each filled with a variety of 10 kinds of school supply.

Before I could go and hand out the school materials to the girls, I had to ask permission from the directors of the schools. Not everyone can enter the schools, because it might be dangerous for the children. With the help of neighborhood representatives we eventually got the permission. They also helped to find a smaller school when it turned out that we could not offer our school supplies to the Mahjube Herawe school. The director of that school wanted either to offer all 400 children a backpack or no one, since she was afraid that others would get jealous. These neighborhood representatives then helped to contact the Mermon Khajo school.

We handed out the school supplies on different days at the two schools. The children were very happy. We had asked Mohamad Musa, a photographer, to join us in order to record how the children responded to the gifts. Also in order to be transparent to our donators and to show to whom the school materials have been handed out. We also asked the children to make a drawing for the donators in order to thank them. We have photographed them together with their painting – proudly smiling.

There have been several moments that I was deeply touched. The first time was at Sir Asia school, when I noticed we had two backpacks shortage. I told the teacher, who checked the list and discovered that two girls of 7 years old had sneaked into the classroom, in order to get a backpack as well. The teacher expelled them from the classroom. They left with tears in their eyes, because they came also from poor families but they got nothing. I felt very sad for them, and I went to arrange extra backpacks especially for them, on my own account. I could not leave them without anything.

The second time I was deeply touched was at Mermon Khajo school. In this school boys and girls were in the same class. We decided also to hand backpacks to poor boys in the classroom. When the first boy in the classroom received a backpack full of school supplies, he was so happy that he hugged his backpack with tears in his eyes.

Some girls put all their school materials in their new backpack and threw away their old bag. For me that was a beautiful moment, which made me very happy, but at the same time so sad. We are only a drop in the ocean. But we should not forget that that ocean is made out of drops too…

-Parwin Zamani

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The story of Mahjube Herawi High School

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The story of Mahjube Herawi High School

This girls’ school in Kabul was founded in 1959. Many girls have studied here, who managed to continue their studies in universities or who found proper jobs. But this school was also burned to the ground by the Taliban to prevent the girls from being educated. After the fall of the Taliban regime, the girls went back to school, even though the building was gone. They had their classes in a tent on the ground of the former school. Later the school got a new place with the help of the Minister of Education. In 2012 the new school building was opened.

In 2013 when our chairperson Parwin visited Kabul, she also visited this school, together with the president of the Board of Representatives, Mohammed Zahir Azami. They got the chance to speak to Jamila Sharif, the principal of the school. She showed them the laboratory, which was very messy and unprofessional. A library or computer room was completely absent. Parwin made pictures of the problems that she observed there, hoping that one day she would be able to help.

The girls who go to this school live in the mountains (sherdarwaza) and their parents are very poor people. They have no money at all to buy their children school supplies. There is no safe drinking water in the mountains, so simply surviving takes precedence over school supplies for their daughters.  Therefore Parwin has decided to select this school as well, and to contribute to a beautiful educational future for these girls too.

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The story of Sir Asia girls' High School

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The story of Sir Asia girls' High School

The School

This school was founded by Abdul Wahed in his home in the village Qalha Muselem in 1957. The school was opened officially by the director of education of Kabul Province. The first principal of the school was a woman called Najeba. The school was very popular among the local population and the number of students grew exponentially. Soon the school building became too small and the school moved to the neighbourhood Sir Asia. A high school was founded as well at that time, which became known under the name of the neighbourhood it was located in.

This high school was only inteded for girls. The school was still located in a private home, this time the one of Fasel Amahad Khan. Muhamad Aumar became the principal. The number of pupils kept growing and again they were forced to move, now to the house of Yhareb Hula Khan.

In 1983 the first pupils graduated from the Sir Asia high school. After passing for the state exam (kankor exam), these students continued their studies in the university of Kabul. The students who did not pass the state exam, went to look for jobs and started working.

When the Taliban came to power, all girls’ schools were banned, also the Sir Asia school. The Taliban was against education for women and many girls’ schools were destroyed or set on fire. Girls were not allowed education at all. The Sir Asia school disappeared at a glance. All effort to build the school had been for nothing.

In 2001 the Taliban regime came to an end. The Sir Asia school did no longer exist. But Amina Shiwani wanted to change that. She started to build the school anew, this time in the neighbourhood Qalha Mirza Abdul Qader. She converted a rented house into a school. She herself became the new principal. However the  school restarted with 800 pupils, but in 2010 this number had increased to 3,500 and 85 teachers.

The principal: Parwin Hashemi

Parwin Hashemi graduated from Kabul University in 1979 in the faculty of English literature. She has a lot of pedagogical experience. Her biggest wish is that the school will develop, not only in terms of student numbers, but especially in terms of educational quality. She would love to see that her pupils will be able to get in contact with Dutch students. Among other things, this might open possibilities to come and study in The Netherlands. At the moment this possibility is completely absent, since there is no internet connection available.

Parwin Hashemi hopes that with the help of Dutch people and knowledge, the Sir Asia high school will be able to develop and flourish as Dutch schools have. She wants the girls to get practical experience in school in various sectors. In this way every girl can decide what her talent and interest is, for instance: sewing, electrical engineering, ICT or economics. Moreover, she would be very glad if Afghan girls would get the possibility to get a grant and enjoy part of their education in The Netherlands.

The problems of the school

Parwin, our chairperson, has visited the principal of the school and has asked her which problems the school is facing.

“At the moment we have many problems in terms of educational facility. The pupils come from poor families and they have no money to buy school supplies. The salary of the teachers is slightly more than 100 dollars a month. Both the students and the teachers have financial problems. The school now has 3,500 pupils and only 3 computers and 1 microscope. There is no library or laboratory where students can properly study. There is no internet at school, most girls do not even know what that is. Many of them do not even have the simplest school supplies. Teachers have the problem that there is no possibility to bring their children to day care.”

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The story of Zarmena

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The story of Zarmena

My name is Zarmena and I am 30 years of age. I have never been to school. In our village girls get married when they are 13 or 14 years old. When I was 14 years old, I was wed in an arranged marriage with an old man of 60 years old. I was his 3rd woman and he had already a couple of children. When I was 15 years old I got my first baby. The other women were jealous and slandered about me to our husband. He was not a very smart man and believed them. He took some branches and hit me. When the branches broke, he just took new ones and continued. I always had many bruises. But still I was obedient. He was the wish of my parents, so I had no choice.

"When I was 14 years old, I was wed in an arranged marriage with an old man of 60 years old."

My life continued like this. After every 1,5 years I got a baby. I had no idea how I could prevent to get pregnant. Because of the bad conditions in our village, we left on a day to Kabul with 5 children. The road was very bad and it was extremely hot. We had to walk for a long time in the mountains. One night my husband got strong pains in his chest and before it became the morning, he was dead.

Together with the other women and our young children we continued life. My parents had moved but I had no idea where. After a couple of months my stepson sent me away. They had their own problems. Eventually we arrived in Kabul. We lived there for a couple of months with someone where I had to fight for myself. Eventually I could start my job at the Sir Asia school as a cleaning lady. But my salary is not high enough for rent, food and all the other things a family needs.

I really want my children to go to school. I do not want my daughters’ lives to be as difficult as mine. My children go to school now. My oldest son, 15 years old, Habeb Hulah, is in 9th grade, Muneb Hulah, 13 years, is in 7th grade, my daughter Marjam of 12 is in 6th grade, Mizghan is 10 years old and in grade 4 and Nejeb of 8 is in 2nd grade. I hope that my children will have a bright future and can become someone they themselves and their country can be proud of. That they will be happy and that they will make other people happy.

Unfortunately my salary is too low to raise 5 children. After school my oldest son sells plastic bags to earn some money, and even then we do not have enough. My salary of 1500 Afghaani (+/- 19 euros) is the same amount we pay for rent. My daughters cry every morning before they go to school, because they do not have any school supplies. I hope that friendly Dutch people will be able to help us and will give my children the opportunity to go to school.

Thank you in advance,

Zarmena

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The story of ...

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The story of ...

I am a woman of 46 years of age. When I was 13 years old, I was wed in an arranged marriage. My husband is now 70 years old and is no longer able to work. My children are still very young and they need care. At the moment I am the one who needs to take care of everything. I am working at other people’s places the whole day. I get food, clothes or a small financial contribution for my work. Because I work so hard, I got rheumatism. But I still have to support my family, so I had to work despite the pain. I want to do everything to make my children go to school, to make sure that they will have a better future than I did.

My son Noweroz, 16 years old, went to school until 6th grade. Now he quit in order to earn money for our family. My daughter Shabana, 13 years old, is in 7th grade. My son Ali Baser, 11 years old, is in 6th grade. Ameer Jan, 9 years, is in 3rd grade and Mobaser, 7 years, is in 1st grade. I fear for the future of my children if they would not be able to continue their studies.

Dear people, thank you in advance!

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The story of Mohammad Musa Akbari - Official photographer of Aainda

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The story of Mohammad Musa Akbari - Official photographer of Aainda

Mohammad Musa Akbari, born on the 20th of March 1961 in the area of Chindawul, a local suburb of Kabul in Afghanistan. He refined his passion for the Arts and Calligraphy into a craft at the Fine Arts Institute of Kabul. In 1981, Musa was forced to migrate to Iran during the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan to escape persecution from the communist regime of the time. Musa continued his studies of the Arts and during his stay in Iran he added the skills of Graphic design, Drawing, Painting and Photography as it came natural to him to capture moments through the eyes of an artist. His goal and hope was to one day introduce Afghanistan's People, Ancient History and Culture to the world through his photography. A land that has been influenced by the passing of the Greeks, Romans, Moghuls, Arabs & Turks and dates back thousands of years. His photography captures the life of an Ancient people who are living in an Ancient land filled with Ancient ruins of vast empires 

  Mohammad Musa Akbari

Mohammad Musa Akbari

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