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Orphan Girl, a Picture Book for the Children of Afghanistan, Published through Funding from the Nonoyama Endowment


Provinces of Afghanistan
Provinces of Afghanistan

The Global Collaboration Center has assisted a project to create and distribute an original picture book for the children of Afghanistan, as one of the projects sponsored by the Nonoyama Endowment for Women’s Education in Afghanistan and Other Developing Countries. Started in 2012, the book project was conducted in cooperation with the Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA), a nongovernmental organization that develops children’s libraries in Asia.

Orphan Girl is the story of a girl named Sanga who lost both of her parents and her favorite doll in the war. She later meets kind foster parents at the orphanage and lives happily with them and her new doll. The book expresses strong hope for peace for the people of Afghanistan.

Children pose with their picture books
at a children’s library.

During their visits to the villages where they operate, the SVA Afghanistan Office staff collected folk stories and stories created by local residents. The book’s story line is based on one of these stories and beautifully expressed in text and illustration. A publishing committee, composed of literature and children’s psychology specialists as well as writers, poets, and other experts, was formed in Afghanistan. The committee provided much valuable advice. The book also underwent a thorough rewriting and revision process with the support of Japanese picture-book authors. Orphan Girl was published in December 2013 with the permission of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education.

Children enjoy mobile library activities held
at an elementary school library in Kabul.

A total of 2,400 copies of the picture book were printed-1,200 copies each in Dari and Pashto, the two official languages of Afghanistan. The picture book is now being distributed to 56 elementary schools (reaching a total of about 130,000 children) and public libraries in the eastern provinces of Kabul and Nangarhar where the SVA operates. In parallel with the distribution of the picture book, the SVA is offering training for schoolteachers on how to make best use of libraries and how to create an enjoyable story time for children.

Orphan Girl is displayed through March 26 at “Welcome to Ochanomizu University: Children’s Books from around the World,” a special exhibition being held in the reading space on the second floor of the Ochanomizu University Library. Come take a look!

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