Our Progress 2016


Thanks to our donors and volunteers, and to our amazing team in Kabul, who keep on going day in and day out, in spite of security threats and discomfort, this year we have successfully distributed another 138,153 Dari-Pashto and 4,158 English only Hoopoe books.

More than half of these were to three mobile library programs run by enterprising Afghans, ensuring that thousands more children have benefitted from our books this year:

Afghan boys excited to borrow Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library
Afghan girls borrowing Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library
Afghan kids borrowing Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library

The Hadia Foundation/Moska Mobile Library received 54,000 Hoopoe books this year. In June they started distributing our books by tricycle to children in Nangarhar Province and by car in Kabul. Here is a report of their progress from their Founder and Executive Director, Mahir Momand:

“It is Moska Mobile Library’s fifth month in operation mostly in Nangarhar Province. The library distributes books to an average of 6,000 children each month, making it the biggest mobile library in Afghanistan.

“As the library travels the streets with its special tone on to signal its presence, children are increasingly getting to like it, get accustomed to it and believe that it is going to be there for them. We also have elders coming out of their houses and wanting to get books for themselves to read (these are elders with very little reading skills) and for their children and grandchildren.

“As you are aware, across Afghanistan, especially in traditional areas such as Nangarhar, when girls get to the age of puberty, they are not allowed by their families to step outside the house. I am very happy to report that there have been numerous cases where we reach those young women also. They send their younger siblings outside to the street with requests for books. They have in some cases sent thank you notes to the library for making books available to them.

“We asked the children to tell us what they think about the library and its services, they have given us marvelous feedback, for example:

‘Thank you for these books, my favorite book is Clever Boy, I also want to be a clever boy.’
Hassan Khan, Age 9 – Grade 3 of Taand primary school
‘Moska Mobile Library has given me and my friends beautiful books with beautiful stories, we have learned new stories from those books.’
Zarlakhta, Age 11, Grade 5 Salaam primary school
‘The books given to us are very educating, it helps in reading, learning new things and having fun. I read them to my younger brother and sisters.’
Ibrar Ul-haq, Age 12, Grade 5 of Al-qalam school

“Initially, almost one out of two children did not return the books we provided. The main reason being that there was little trust that the library will be coming again and giving them new books in return for the ones they have read. As the library is seen again and again, children find it easier and more exciting to return their old books and get new ones. Now the rate of collection has increased from 50% to around 80%.

“We made an initial study of 40 children over a four month period and noticed a definite improvement in their reading proficiency. Many of the children now know the stories they have read by heart and some refer to them as they talk together about their lives and actions. We will undertake a survey (baseline initially and impact later) with about 50 kids and report the results to you in six month’s time to ensure we document the impact these beautiful books are having on children.

“With your help, we would like to continue expanding our area of coverage within Nangarhar Province, increase our operations in Kabul and initiate a similar program in Herat Province.

“Hoopoe Books for children are written using Afghan Pashto and Dari dialects and that’s the very reason we love them as compared to other books that are provided by other sources which are written in non-Afghan accents/dialects such as the Iranian ones. Moreover, Hoopoe’s books are stories that are either based on Afghan culture or have very close resemblance to our culture. We would want to keep the Afghan culture and literature pure without the influence of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and that’s exactly what we get from the books provided by Hoopoe Books. Teachers have been loving the teacher guides we have provided them – they are very popular with schools.”

More Afghan boys excited to borrow Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library
Afghan kids in school with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library

Because of the success of the matching fund donations, we are able to give the Moska Mobile Library the books and teacher guides they need for immediate distribution in Kabul and Herat. THANK YOU

As soon as we can provide more books, HADIA volunteers will increase their operations in Kabul where, in a city of over 5 million people, there is a huge demand for children’s books. They are also hoping that we can help them expand their efforts in Nangarhar within a month or two.

Young Afghan kids with Hoopoe books in Spin Boldak

Matiullah Wesa’s amazing mobile team received 16,200 books from us this year that they distributed to children in Nimruz, Kandahar and Kapisa provinces in spite of all the security issues. The photo above is from a distribution to celebrate International Children’s Day in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar Province.

Afghan boys from the Daman district in Afghanistan with Hoopoe books

More from Daman District, Kandahar Province

Afghan girls in the Daman district in Afghanistan with their Hoopoe books
Afghan students from the Delaram district in Afghanistan with Hoopoe books

and from Delaram District, Nimruz Province

Students from the Delaram District with Hoopoe books
Kids holding Hoopoe Books from Kapisa Province Afghanistan

also fromTagab District, Kapisa Province.

Young Afghan girl holding the book The Farmer's Wife from Hoopoe Books

From the BBC Pashto Facebook page – 200 girls in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar Province are now reading Hoopoe stories by Idries Shah.

Brave young Afghans risk their lives to take books to children… “Education is the only way to end war in Afghanistan” says Matiullah Wesa.

Hoopoe Book distribution, Gelan district, Ghazni province

Gelan District, Ghazni Province

Hoopoe Book distribution Maqur district Ghasni Province

Muqur District, Ghazni Province

Hoopoe Book distribution Tarinkot district Urozgan Province

Tarinkot District, Urozgan Province

In the middle of August a young Afghan student, Matiullah Wesa, and other volunteers started to distribute Hoopoe Books to children living in some of the most dangerous provinces of Afghanistan. Matiullah is motivated by his childhood circumstances. He recalls a time when his own school was burned to the ground, leaving himself and his friends with no way to continue their studies and with no access whatsoever to reading materials. As a consequence, he says: “In 2009, I started working and helping kids by building libraries and schools, distributing books and school materials for kids and so on. It helped me cure the pain in me that I had received that day when my friends and I wept in front of our school as it was burning to the ground.”

Hoopoe Book distribution, Maywand district, Kandahar province

Maywand District, Kandahar Province

Hoopoe Book distribution, Spin Boldak district, Kandahar province

Spin Boldak District, Kandahar Province

Hoopoe Book distribution Urozgan Province

Urozgan Province

Early this summer Matiullah requested our help to provide him with as many Hoopoe Books as he and his friends can distribute. Thanks to donations, we were able to give him 3,600 Dari-Pashto and 600 English books. In just one month these brave young men have handed out hundreds of Hoopoe books to girls and boys, starting small libraries in several rural districts of Ghazni, Kandahar, and Urozgan provinces.

And the Moska Mobile Library continues to deliver books to children living in remote villages of Nangarhar Province, this time in Behsod district.

Moska Mobile providing Hoopoe Books
Moska Mobile providing Hoopoe Books
Moska Mobile providing Hoopoe Books

Both these organizations will need more books as they visit towns and villages, introducing children to the pleasure and wisdom of wonderful stories.

Girls looking at Hoopoe Books delivered by Moska Mobil Library
Young Afghan boy pleased to have a copy of The Silly Chicken from Moska Mobil Library

Hoopoe Books were being delivered by tricycle in Nangarhar Province and by car in Kabul Province by Moska Mobile Library. The tricycle library can navigate the narrow streets in the villages of Nangarhar where travel by car is impossible. Every week Moska Mobile Library distributes books to 1,000 children – slightly more than 50% of them are girls.

The Moska Mobile Library operates under the HADIA Foundation, a non-profit charity based in Afghanistan. The HADIA Foundation/Moska Mobile Library has also provided Hoopoe Teacher Guides in the schools where they have distributed Hoopoe Books. You can find out more about their wonderful work on their Facebook page.

Young Afghan students with Hoopoe books delivered thanks to Moska Mobil Library

Hoopoe Books in the hands of Afghan children thanks to Moska Mobile Library and the generosity of our supporters. For more photos you can view the Moska Mobile Library video on our YouTube channel.

Saber Hosseini’s bicycle library continues to make books available to children in remote areas of Bamyan Province. Here are some photos from his May delivery.

Saber Husseini delivering Hoopoe Books to eager children
Saber Husseini with children holding Hoopoe Books
Saber Husseini delivering Hoopoe Books to Afghan children in front of school
girls holding Hoopoe Books delivered by Saber Husseini
Hoopoe distribution in Chapa Dara in the Koh e baba mountains in Bamyan

Hoopoe distribution in Chapa Dara in the Koh e baba mountains in Bamyan.

Because Afghan children have known only war, it’s not surprising that toy guns play a large role in their games. But once Mr. Hosseini arrived, one by one the children in Chapa Dara brought out their toy guns and exchanged them for books, to the great pleasure of the children and relief of their parents. Let’s hope that Hoopoe stories inspire them to create different games to play together.

Mr. Hosseini and Governor of Bamyan province distributing books, YouTube video

Left, video of Mr. Hosseini and the Governor of Bamyan Province distributing Hoopoe Books.

You can find out more about how Mr. Hosseini was inspired to create his mobile library in this BBC interview.

Afghan Mini Mobile Children’s Circus and Hoopoe Book distribution
Afghan Mini Mobile Children’s Circus and Hoopoe Book distribution

The wonderful Afghan Mini Mobile Children’s Circus (MMCC) has been distributing Hoopoe books to children at their circus events, in their education centers, in schools and orphanages as they travel around entertaining children throughout Afghanistan.

Thanks to everyone’s help, between the Fall of last year and May of this year, we have been able to provide MMCC with 60,000 books to donate to the children they meet. Then in June we were able to provide the Afghan MMCC with another 20,000 Hoopoe Books which were distributed to young audiences in Herat Province (photos above).

We hope to be able to continue to partner with MMCC providing books for their students and audiences as they travel across the country.

Click to watch a video of a reading of Idries Shah’s The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water

Watch this video of a distribution and reading of Idries Shah’s The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water which took place at their Kabul center.

A Unique Library in Bamyan

Saber Hosseini has created a unique mobile library for children in his hometown of Bamyan in central Afghanistan. Mr. Hosseini has become well known in the area for distributing books to children from a box on the back of his bicycle. In the past, villagers have been wary of outsiders appearing on bicycles because bicycles are known to have been used for suicide attacks. Now, when children see Saber Hosseini peddling along, they happily come out to receive new books and to return those they’ve already read.

Handing out Hoopoe Books in central Afghanistan

Mr. Hosseini’s mobile library has just 200 books for children and he’s able to reach 5 villages. There are many more villages in Bamyan with no access to books; and there are volunteer men and women willing to help Mr. Hosseini reach children in other villages. Please help us send more books to Mr. Hosseini so that he can expand this program.

(via PayPal)

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

The British Council in Afghanistan Uses Hoopoe in Their Teacher Trainings

British Council pre-service teachers in training
British Council pre-service teachers in training

In the fall of last year the British Council purchased 52 copies of each of our English Hoopoe Books by Idries Shah for their pre-service teachers in teacher-training colleges in 10 provinces around Afghanistan. Their aim is to make English-language teaching in schools more communicative and effective.

Just before the holidays, Jon De Ath, the Head of Teacher Development, sent the following note and photos:

“Thought I’d send you a mail with some photos of some of the Teacher Trainers from the national Teacher Training colleges, using some of Hoopoe folk tales in a training session (and one of cascade training back in Nuristan).

They were extremely popular and all 52 of them went away with a set of 8 books to use in the 2-year diploma courses, to encourage storytelling in the English classroom. Feedback was very positive and they mentioned that they found this the most interesting and useful session of the 4 they received.”

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