What’s New in 2021
Moska Mobile Library
Mahir Momand and his enthusiastic volunteer staff wrote “Our effort is to be able to cover the whole of Afghanistan so that everyone has access to their favorite books.” They sent the following pictures from some of their efforts since the beginning of 2021.
Karadah Project International
“Few things in life give me more pleasure than reading. I still remember my first book, Curious George. Now, Afghan children in a displacement camp will now have their own books.”
We first met Lt. Col. Rick Burns in 2010 and were so pleased to hear from him again recently, and to have the opportunity to send books to the children of a wonderful kindergarten for displaced children in Herat that his foundation, Karadah, has recently opened. It’s a joy to see such a happy space for young Afghan children!
Books were recently delivered to Saw communities in Kunar Province, including to the Nari District Department of Education and to 1340 students and 150 teachers in four high schools. The translator’s father also took books into four remote villages. He tells us that the villagers were really pleased to receive books because they previously felt that they were always left behind; they told him that “With your help, we can move forward in terms of education and learn something new. This is the first time we have seen picture story books.”
Below are some pictures from the different villages, giving, also, a view of this mountainous region of Afghanistan.
Over 5 Million Hoopoe Books Distributed!
We began the Hoopoe Books for Afghanistan program 13 years ago and thanks to our amazing partners in Kabul, we have now distributed a total of 5,019,381 books!
Our book donation program was hampered at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, but by the end of this year, our Afghan partners had found safe ways to get books to children. In 2020 your donations have helped us deliver:
- 58,285 books in Dari-Pashto, 21,040 books in English, 10,000 books in Shugni-Dari, and 22,000 books in Sawji-Pashto.
- Thanks to our friends in Canada, we are currently distributing 24,000 books to Turkmen Afghans in their mother tongue paired with Dari, the national language children will need when they enter first grade.
- We’ve received so many requests for new titles, that we have decided to publish an Afghan edition of The Man with Bad Manners by Idries Shah.
The Lamia Afghan Foundation
The Lamia Afghan Foundation recently completed building the Haidari Memorial Primary School in the Shindan District, Herat Province, in a village call Shorab. It is for 300 children, each of whom will have a set of Hoopoe books, and their teacher, Hoopoe Teacher Guides.
SIL International/SAMAR works with local Afghan communities to develop language solutions that expand possibilities for a better life. “These books are the entrance ramp onto the highway of Sawji literacy.” —David Miller, SAMAR
The pictures below are from Sawji-Pashto book distributions in Qala Khily and Whadat Mena. The students asked if it was possible to bring them more books like these if they are printed. They said that this was the first time that they had seen many books printed in the Sawji language, and they are very interested and happy in seeing more.
Aschiana is a non-profit organization founded to serve the rising number of street-working children in Kabul. They write to us, “Story telling has been an ancient and effective way to learn. We at Aschiana run a Mobile Library for the children who do not have access to a library or books. Our staff members share stories with the children with a social message to inculcate hope, love of humanity among them.”
The pictures below are of a session at Shahrak-e-Police Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp.
Our friends at Hadia sent us another report and more pictures. Hadia operates the Moska Mobile Library and also gives out books to children directly. They were able to reopen operations in mid-July and write that their mobile library returned to “areas that were only partially covered” prior to the pandemic closings.
More than 200 books are given out daily to children in different villages. Below are some pictures from Nangarhar, Laghman,and Kunar Provinces.
Care International in Afghanistan
We have received a report and some pictures from CARE International.
Last winter we were able to donate 12,000 books and 2,100 teacher’s guides, along with tapes and CDs to them for distribution to libraries in their Multi Grade and Leave No Girls Behind programs in Parwan, Kapisa, Paktia, Ghazni and Khost Provinces.
Almost 4,000 students are benefiting from access to these books and requesting more.
The Hadia Foundation
The Hadia Foundation wrote to us:
“Yes, our mobile library is back after introducing COVID-19 precautionary measures in line with government guidelines. We have started distributing books again to girls and boys in rural Afghanistan.”
Our partners in Kabul were finally able to deliver 2,000 each of our Dari-Pashto bilingual titles and 500 each of our English titles—30,000 books in all—to the Hadia warehouse for distribution throughout this year.
Peace and Friendship
Peace and Friendship is a group of young volunteer activists, whose aim is to promote a culture of volunteerism, helping poor and marginalized families and providing humanitarian services. We’ve just delivered 5,000 Dari-Pashto bilingual and 2,000 English books to their Kabul office for distribution over the next six months.
This photo is from the Peace and Friendship distribution of Hoopoe books to children in Kabul
June – WE MADE IT!
Thanks to our generous donors, 10,000 Hoopoe Books (1000 each of 10 teaching stories by Idries Shah) in Shughni-Dari bilingual editions, were delivered to the Shughni Project on June 9. Distribution began almost immediately in the Shughnan region of Badakhshan Province in Northeastern Afghanistan. Karen Olson, project manager for the Shughni Project, sent this report from the preschool supervisor there:
“Somebody told me they were so bored this year because schools were not open. They were very happy to receive the books so they have something to do. One of the children seemed unhappy. When asked..she said ‘My father doesn’t let me study in your kindergarten’ Then I asked her father and gave her a package of kindergarten materials and then she became very happy.”
“In one village, we had not had a kindergarten in the past, but this winter we held a literacy course for the women. Now, at their suggestion, we gave them materials for their children. Both these women and their children will benefit.”
Preschool Program in Shughnan
The Shughni people live high up in the Pamir mountains of Afghanistan where they make a livelihood mostly through subsistence farming and raising sheep and goats. They speak the Shughni language at home and around their community.
But, when children go to school in grade one, they have to learn Dari, which is a foreign language for them. Furthermore, some children have to walk an hour or more to get to school on dangerous mountain roads.
The community, run by our translation team, came up with a solution:
“We decided to begin a preschool program in Shughnan. In this program, five-and-six-year-olds learn for two years in their mother tongue. This gives them a solid foundation in phonics, gets them used to the classroom setting in a comfortable environment, and helps them develop an interest in reading and writing by teaching them to read in a language they already understand—their own.
“The Hoopoe books, with their colorful illustrations and bilingual Shughni-Dari stories, will further help these children to develop this interest in reading and writing. Students will be awarded these books on graduation from the preschool program. We also hope to distribute the books to schools for use in their libraries.” — Karen Olson, SAMAR.
Since we began this program 12 years ago, we have DISTRIBUTED A TOTAL 4,884,056 BOOKS!
Thanks to generous donations in 2019, we provided 79,428 books in Dari-Pashto and 18,118 in English to children in Afghanistan. In addition, thanks to our friends in Canada, we have also distributed 22,000 books in Uzbeki-Dari and Pashai-Dari editions. Here are some photos of the children who have received Hoopoe books since August:
68,974 Dari-Pashto bilingual Hoopoe Books Distributed to Nine Organizations as of August 2019
This year the Children’s Book Foundation is focusing on distributing books to areas that are particularly difficult to reach. As their founder Saber Hosseini says, “When I hand the books out to them, I can see their excitement and joy.”
Nine Trust In Education Libraries Now Have Hoopoe Books
A set of Hoopoe Books are now being read by visitors to nine libraries established by Trust In Education (TIE). TIE founder, Budd MacKenzie, tells us that around 700 children use these libraries everyday six days a week.
TIE recently established a girl’s class in Lalander—the only class for girls there! All 30 students registered were given a set of Hoopoe titles to take home and keep, but only one set per family. They look very happy to receive these beautiful storybooks!
Hoopoe Books at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
We owe a very big “Thank you!” to Eva Devos, President of IBBY Belgium, who made sure that Hoopoe bilingual books were displayed at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in April this year.
As Dr. Devos points out in her article ‘I can read this, Miss! It’s my language!’: Reflections on a multilingual reading programme in Flanders, Chapter 11 of Children’s Literature in a Multiliterate World the availability of books that address minority cultures:
- lets children be the experts; the usual roles are reversed, and their knowledge of their maternal language becomes an asset, not a problem
- creates opportunities to reinforce the place of maternal languages at school, which has been identified by research (e.g., Pulinx, 2017) to have a positive effect on children’s identity and self-confidence
- stimulates language and cultural awareness, and curiosity about and opening up to other cultures, for all children, not only children from backgrounds with different languages and cultures
- encourages parental involvement in the school life of their children, offering opportunities for teachers and parents to get together in schools. Furthermore, it leads to cooperation between teacher and parent in which the parent is the expert when talking about the country they came from, and when sharing a book from their own country in their own language
For all these good reasons, if you can help the distribution of our bilingual books in English, German and French paired with Dari, Pashto and Urdu, please do let us know. And if you can encourage your friends to write reviews of Hoopoe Books in English, or any of these languages, on the appropriate Amazon site that would help us enormously. Thank you!
Hoopoe’s Minority Language Books Available Online in Afghanistan
Darekht-e-Danesh (Knowledge Tree) Online Library has now added our 12 Hoopoe Books in the Sawji-Pashto bilingual edition to their resources. This is in addition to all of our Dari-Pashto bilingual books and Teacher Guides and 4 titles in Munji-Dari. They plan to include the other seven minority language editions in the near future.
As long as the library continues, Hoopoe books and Teacher Guides will always be available to read and download.
With the extreme lack of educational materials available to teachers in Afghanistan in their own languages, the online library can make a huge difference. It encourages teachers to consult a wide variety of resources in their practice, to use these tools to adapt their own, and to share with other educators. For more about the program visit https://youtu.be/bF5dpED9W64.
The library is the work of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan who also recently put Hoopoe books into readers’ hands through their Afghanistan Reads! adult literacy program.
Our Books for Afghanistan program continues to be valued by Afghans, who are only too aware of the psychological effect of violence and extremism their young children are exposed to every day.
Too Many Primary Schools Have No Books
It’s hard for us to imagine, but many schools in Afghanistan have absolutely no books at all for their students. The Omar Foundation’s goal is to partner with KOR-Hoopoe to correct this in as many primary schools as possible. In collaboration with Helmand Education Department, they have begun to distribute Hoopoe books to schools in Nad Ali district.
“Students in Zarghoon Kalai school in Nad Ali hadn’t seen books in their school and were very happy and excited with books they were reading for the first time.” —Moh. Omar Lemar, Founder and Director of the Omar Foundation.
The district’s Education Department Director, Sharafuddin, wanted to be sure to thank us and convey how important it is for children to have at least one book to learn from. He asks us to not to forget the many children in Helmand province for future, most welcome, book donations.
Moska Mobile Library: Waheed’s Story
English translation of the video:
My name is Waheed, I polish shoes in the streets. I have only been able to go to school until grade 2. Then my father, who was the breadwinner of the family got a massive health problem and went under surgery as a result of which he can’t work now. I have two other brothers and myself, we are all young but have to work to provide for my family. However, we do allow our sister to go to school and she does not have to work. She is in grade 5. I would love to go to school, but cant because I have to work. I came here to borrow a book, a colorful one with a good story to read.
Good News From Helmand Province
These days Helmand province appears often in our news, but mostly with tragic news of Taliban insurgents and conflict. It is so good to learn that, in spite of safety concerns, 2,000 Hoopoe books are currently being distributed throughout the province thanks to Saber Hosseini’s mobile library.
Thanks to SAMAR, one thousand copies of the Sawji-Pashto bilingual edition of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water were printed
Wahdat Mena, Chapharhar District, in Nangarhar Province, is home to approximately 200 families of Saw people. The children were excited to see that The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water was written in their own language.
The Saw children of Qala Khily in Behsud District, Nangarhar Province crowd around eager to receive their own copy of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water. A small girl (in orange) managed to get to the front of the distribution and receive a copy, and perhaps, will share it with her family.
Hoopoe Books Keep Children Reading During the Winter Months
Afghan schools are closed during the cold winter months but during that time hundreds of children like these girls and boys have access to free Hoopoe books through Moska Mobile Library.
Afghan Book Bike Tour
See a young girl’s reaction to receiving her own copy of Hoopoe’s The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah a legend about the father of modern Afghanistan. She says “I got this book and I’m very happy about it. I was delighted to get it, and I will read it at home. And I hope that in the future, I’ll be somebody in the world. I’ve never seen such kindness before.”
Please help us provide more books for Idries Siawash as he travels Afghanistan on his bike handing out free books to young people across the country.