We hit the ground running once we arrived in Kabul. Everyday was filled with eye opening experiences at the various Women for Afghan Women (WAW) programs followed by dinners with human rights activists, documentarians, political appointees and even the Ambassador from India! Suni, one of the founders of WAW, made sure we met everyone.
Our first two days were spent at the Children’s Support Center (CSC) interviewing Farkhunda Saamy (WAW’s Country Director), Shahbibi Halima (the CSC Director) and Sikander Halimi (Psychologist). We also had the opportunity to start a new program for the kids called “Picture This”. Maris and Suni had a great idea to help children tell stories using cameras, so they put together the curriculum and Theatre for Humans donated the cameras and equipment. The program gave some of the younger children a chance to tell stories using photographs and video – something they had never done before. All the children at this center live there because their mothers are in prison. To give a little background, in Afghanistan, when a mother is sent to prison they take their children with them. WAW found this unacceptable so they have opened a series of centers where children can live, play and attend school in a safe environment. Mother’s can now elect to send their children to these centers while they serve their sentences. When the mothers are released, they are re-united with their children. I have to admit that I went thinking these kids would be troubled, introverted and distant. That couldn’t be further than from the truth. I think they were fascinated to meet new Americans and couldn’t wait to try out their English skills with us. We had an awesome time hanging out with them for a couple of days. It is truly amazing how resilient children can be. You could never tell how difficult and challenging their lives have been. After spending a few days with these kids, it just reaffirms the great work the staff of Women for Afghan Women is doing. If kids are the future of Afghanistan, and these kids have any say, the country will be in very good hands.