Exciting news!! Global Village Photographer has teamed up with Fahima Vorgetts (Afghan Women’s Fund under Women for Afghan Women) and the capital region Women Against War to build a clean water well in Mir Tagi Shah, a village south of Kabul. [see Times Union Articlehttp://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=900274&category=REGION] In building a well we are addressing one of the underlying causes of the Afghan humanitarian crises rather than relying on a military solution to the problems. This is a more effective way to address the deep-rooted and multi-faceted problems inherent in war-torn areas. I am excited because theAFGHAN WELL PROJECT offers a long-term solution to create human security for the Afghan people in Mir Tagi Shah. Click on the following colored text to see The Afghan Well Project brochure. You may also print this brochure to pass to people who might be interested in supporting the project.
Fahima, an Afghan American, has raised funds to build wells, clinics and schools in villages in Afghanistan. It is Fahima’s memories of her early years living in Afghanistan that prompt her to dedicate her life to improving the plight of women in her native country. In her own words, “Afghanistan haunts me. It is my country and my heart breaks for my sisters who undergo daily oppression and hardship there. My passion and life’s work is to reclaim and rebuild the country so that women can be free and equal and can live a life of dignity, literacy, and financial stability.”
Fahima came to the Albany area in December of 2009 sponsored by WAW and spoke at some of the local colleges (Saint Rose, Siena, Russel Sage) and at public meetings. She was a guest at Frank’s and my house during this time. Over many cups of tea, we discussed the problems in Afghanistan, focusing on the needed solutions. Both of us cried for our love for the Afghan women and for our frustration that we were not seeing more progress. Not being able to sleep one night after one of these discussions, combined with what I have seen and learned as I have traveled in Afghanistan, it became clear to me that here was where we needed to place our energy…. the actual on-the-ground assistance to Afghan citizens. From this midnight dreaming the Afghan Well Project was born.
Fahima approaches a community, meeting with the village elders to determine what they need and want. These projects are carried out cooperatively with the village elders deciding priorities and by using village members to work on the projects. In this way they take ownership, thus protecting their own investment. For any of you who have listened to or read Greg Mortenson’s Tree Cups of Tea or Stones into Schools you understand what he has learned and how he has become so successful with his projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Greg was interviewed recently by Bill Moyers and speaks very eloquently about his work [http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01152010/profile2.html] Fahima is no different in her approach and has successfully built a number of schools. Visit her Valley Caravan Gallery web site to learn more about her work. http://www.valleycaravan.com/index.html
We will be kicking off fund raising for the Afghan Well Project at the reception for my current photography exhibition.
Photographs taken in September/October 2009
Opening Reception and Kick off for The Afghan Well Project
Friday, February 19, 2010 5:30 to 9pm
See the photos:
February 7- February 28, 2010
Hours: Mon- Fri 9:00am – 4:00pm
Sunday 9:00am – noon
Forum presentation February 21 11:45
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany
405 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY
I will be bringing to this reception additional photographs taken during this last visit to Afghanistan that will be available to purchase to support this project. There will be note cards from around the world, photographs from previous trips to Afghanistan and a few silk scarfs and bags embroidered by Afghan women for sale as well. Another piece of the Afghan Well Project will be for me to travel with Fahima to Mir Tagi Shah to document the village and the building of the well. I will record interviews with villagers and return to this village periodically to see the results of the well and work toward other projects that may be needed by this village such as a health clinic, a women’s cooperative and a school for girls and boys. Up dates will be given in multi-media presentations as the project progress.
Fahima Vorgetts will be returning to the capital district area to assist with raising $10,000 for the well in the beginning of March. As we firm up her schedule I will be posting dates for events.