Last night a non-profit organization called Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan hosted a storytelling evening in Surrey. This group works to promote education for Afghan girls and women.
Activities include training teachers, providing libraries and school equipment and hosting a Centre of Research and Innovation for Afghan teachers at the University of Kabul.
Following a delicious dinner prepared by the Afghan Chopan restaurant, poems were read, songs were sung and storytellers spoke on a variety of subjects. Accompanied by slides, these tales educated and inspired the audience.
Lauryn Oates, Programs director of the organization, talked about its history and emphasized its important goals of building human capital in Afghanistan by educating girls and empowering women, as well as educating and engaging Canadian women as world citizens.
One passionate young judo expert described the benefits gleaned from the judo she learned with other girls and boys in Kabul. A communications engineer described the current state of cell phone and wireless internet coverage.
A retired geologist showed and described Band-e Amir National Park and other astonishingly beautiful geographical features of his mountainous home country, and showed slides of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, already faceless after damage inflicted by Genghis Khan. Deliberately destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban, these remarkable and ancient works of art were recalled by a Canadian woman who saw them on a youthful trip to Bamiyan in the 1970s.
A young Afghan woman spoke about Afghan music, past and present. I learned that Kabul Dreams is a popular contemporary band and Afghan Star is a televised talent show "like American Idol."
The next annual symposium of this valuable volunteer-run organization will be held in Banff next October.