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SAF values women’s role in Afghanistan’s cultural heritage preservation

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Afghanistan, situated at an important junction on the ancient Silk Roads, has been the crossroads of cultures since time immemorial. Its unique cultural heritage reflects a history that is marked by the complex indigenous encounters between Achaemenid Persia, Alexandrian Greece, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.
However, due to prolonged armed conflict and fanaticism, much of this outstanding cultural heritage has been destroyed. The Bamiyan Buddhas were dynamited in March 2001, and in the following months most of the debris together with the remains of original sculpture, was taken away to be sold. In addition, the small statues in the collections of the Kabul Museum were smashed, including many stored for security reasons in the Ministry of Information and Culture.
The safeguarding of cultural heritage holds an important position in order to strengthen the sense of national identity.
“The South Asia Foundation’s (SAF) objective is to uphold its core values of regional cooperation and peace through education and cultural interaction between the eight SAARC countries. SAF’s main objective has also been to help re-establish the links between the populations concerned and their cultural history, helping them to develop a sense of common ownership of monuments that represent the cultural identity of different segments of society,” SAF-Afghanistan chairperson Prof. Omara Khan Masoudi told The Kabul Times.
According to Prof. Masoudi, SAF committed to preserve the Afghan cultural heritage through awareness programs across the country. “SAF values women’s crucial role and we do our bests to have increasing number of female participants in our programs.”
In 2018, with the financial support of the South Asia Foundation, the cultural heritage awareness courses were held for the first time in northern Badakhshan Province and for the second time in Bamyan and Herat provinces. The UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Center for Preservation of Afghanistan Cultural Heritage courses were also held in two education zones of Kabul with mass participation of female teachers, asking for continuation of such unique programs.
“This is the first time that I am witnessing such cultural awareness programs in my 20 years of teaching experiences. This was a unique program and I ask the officials in charge to continue holding of such programs,” a female instructor Zohra who lives in Faizabad, the capital of northern Badakhshan province said, asking for future programs in their schools for students.
Meanwhile, Principle of Rabia-e-Balkhi female high school in Kabul Nadera told The Kabul Times that women were not only having important role at home, but also within the society. “We are not only raising our children, cooking at home and taking care of the whole house, but we do also educate the future generations and therefore preserving of the cultural heritages and establishing of security and stability would be possible if we further increase awareness, in particular via women to the students,” she added. Another instructor Farzana asked SAF to extend the duration of the courses. “This is the first time that I am attending a cultural awareness program in my school. We are learning much from such programs and I will deliver a presentation on what I have learned to my students.”
Hinting to SAF’s support of the programs, head of UMCPACH Fawad Adalatpoor Keshmi said many programs were on their agenda for 2019 in the capital Kabul and other provinces. “We do value the role of women and how they are educating our children. Increasing participation of women have always been in our priorities.”
The Kabul Times

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The Kabul Times.