Welcome to Books for Afghanistan

The beginning of education is literacy. The fundamental need is that girls and boys in their homes and in schools have access to quality books, which foster a love of reading and a taste of what reading and learning can offer them.

Our Mission

Our mission is to give Hoopoe Books to as many Afghan school-age children, libraries and adult literacy classes as we can; as well as audio versions of the stories and step-by-step Teacher Lesson Plans and Teacher Training. We also have six downloadable radio programs of the stories for local Afghan radio.

For more than three decades, Afghanistan has been decimated by a continuous state of war, which began with the 1979 Soviet invasion and persists today with the Taliban insurgency. The literacy needs of Afghan children are crucial to the stability and progress of the country, yet Afghanistan’s ability to educate its children through these turbulent years is severely impeded.

  • We are several years past the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012), yet the literacy rate for Afghans over 15 years old is only 29%.
  • Afghanistan has the highest proportion of school-age (ages 7-12) children in the world.
  • Almost 50% (5 million) of them have no access to education.

The future for an Afghan child who can’t read is grim: crushing poverty, vulnerability to extremist beliefs, violence and low life expectancy.

In spite of increased security issues, our friends continue to give Hoopoe Books to at-risk children in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. With your help they will continue.

We are helping to change this!

“The biggest enemy of Afghanistan is illiteracy!”
—Mohammad Khan Kharoti, Green Village Schools.


In 2006 HoopoeBooks obtained permission from the Afghan Ministry of Education in Kabul to “repatriate” traditional tales from the region, retold especially for children by the Afghan author and educator Idries Shah.

Called Teaching-Stories by Western educators, the values and experiences preserved in these ancient tales means that they not only serve as building blocks to literacy, but help to provide positive internal narratives for children who have seen nothing but war, violence and loss.

Distributing Hoopoe Books to children in Afghanistan
Distributing Hoopoe Books to girls in Afghanistan
Distributing Hoopoe Books to children in Afghanistan
Distributing Hoopoe Books to girls in Afghanistan

These stories help create a bridge that makes education more acceptable to conservative elders who recognize these tales from their own childhood.

In 2009 we formed a partnership with Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation (KOR) in Kabul and together:

WE HAVE PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED OVER 4 MILLION DARI-PASHTO AND ENGLISH HOOPOE BOOKS THROUGHOUT AFGHANISTAN, AND TRAINED 550+ TEACHERS (teacher trainings are currently curtailed through lack of funds.) Read the results of a US Government independent evaluation of our program.

The Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 recognize that access to education is a human right and vital for the sustainability of all development and peace. Yet, according to UNESCO:

85% of women have no formal education and are illiterate: that is over 13.7 million individuals. 
Only 40% of Afghan girls attend elementary school, and only one in 20 girls attend school beyond the sixth grade.

Afghan girl with Hoopoe Books
Afghan girl reading The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water
Afghan girl with the book The Magic Horse
Afghan girl reading The Farmer's Wife

Give a young girl a book of her own,
 and she will find someone to help her read it.

(via PayPal)

To help us provide more children with beautiful illustrated books of their own.



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