Rob Elphinstone and FeaturePics are trying to raise money for a Kids can Read program to build a library project in Farah, near Herat, Afghanistan

Released on = September 27, 2006, 10:39 pm

Press Release Author =

Industry = Non Profit

Press Release Summary = Artist and photographer, Rob Elphinstone, is working with
French organization Femaid and ACA Gallery of Toronto, Canada to help bring much
needed books to the people in the Eastern portion of Afghanistan.
The KidscanreadAfghanistan program is being organized with Malalai Joya, elected
representative in the parliament of Afghanistan. The idea is to construct a public
library for young adults and children in Afghanistan.
The public library will be situated in ancient and historic Herat, one of the main
cities of Afghanistan after Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif, by the Iranian border.
To help fulfill this goal limited edition photographic prints are offered for sale
by artist and photographer, Rob Elphinstone. His remarkable journey through
Badakhshan, an Afghan northern province in the company of Doctors without Borders is
a tale that involves art, culture, medicine and the trials of war.
Instead of military intervention, this worthy program focuses on educating people in
a culturally appropriate manner.

Press Release Body = About the Project
The Public Library will be situated in the ancient city of Farah, south of Herat,
one of Afghanistan\'s poorest regions. Population estimates vary through lack of
official documentation and the sheer difficulty in undertaking any such research,
but 200 000 inhabitants make up a conservative estimate. This library will be the
first of its kind; furthermore, girls have been attending massively school since the
fall of the Taliban. There is a 8000 strong student population in the city. The
future library is located near the nearby Melman Nazo girls\' school. There are 3000
female pupils there, studying in shifts, many of them former refugees, of which half
of them are married and many mothers (marriage takes place quite often at 13 or 14
if not before).

With the help of a committee that includes experts on Islamic law and Afghan custom,
careful thought will be going into the choice of works and films to be sent, in
order to avoid any adverse reaction, all of which should be catalogued and approved
beforehand: fiction and non fiction, world literature, works covering the fields of
sciences, history, technology, practical medicine, first aid, childcare, home
economics social sciences, gender in an accessible form will be sent, as well as
reference works (encyclopaedias, dictionaries and teaching aids). More than a
library, this should be a place for exchange and communication, studies and
workshops. Through computers and Internet facilities, links with other schools and
cultural youth groups worldwide could be established. This library, situated in one
of the key areas of Afghanistan could be at the centre of many cultural exchanges
between young people and schools East and West. Furthermore, for a society emerging
from over a quarter of a century of war, a special area within the library with
learning activities designed for young children will contribute to enrich
perceptions of childhood generally. There are a number of young mothers and older
sisters in the Melman Nazo school so the idea is that they could come to the library
with the children they care for. Playing does not exist, because the concept of
childhood as a period of discovery, learning and development is inexistent. Just as
in pre-Enlightenment Europe, a child is considered just an incomplete, immature
non-sexual adult who has to train for future hardship, especially girls. An area
devoted to an Early Learning Centre,with creative games and toys will certainly
advance the cause of childhood here.
More information about the project:

About Rob Elphinstone
Rob Elphinstone travelled with Doctors without Borders (MSF) into the Hindu Kush
Mountains to the northern tip of the province of Badakhshan.

Rob Elphinstone can be contacted by email at
Rob Elphinstone\'s Photography of Afghanistan

About Malalai Joya
The Afghan partner in this venture is Afghan member of parliament for Farah, Malalai
Joya. The success of any kind of aid project, however well-intentioned, is dependent
on the local partners, especially in such a difficult context. Malalai Joya is
without a doubt one of Afghanistan\'s most courageous and outspoken members of
parliament. She is becoming well known to the English-speaking public through her
tour of the US and Canada this year. As a most vocal champion for women\'s rights in
her country, she enthusiastically hosts host this project and her charity OPAWC,
registered in Afghanistan will be the implementing partner in charge in Farah.

FeaturePics is a site for buying and selling Stock Photography, and giving
recognition to the excellent group of FeaturePics Photographers.

Web Site =

Contact Details = Phone: (510)794 7168
Fax: (510)794-4178
General and Business Inqueries
34249 Fremont Blvd #212
Fremont, CA 94555

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