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Picture book for Afghanistan from the Nonoyama Endowment completed – The Tortoise and the Fig Tree


In a project for the Nonoyama Endowment for Women’s Education in Afghanistan and Other Developing Countries, the Global Collaboration Center has been working with the Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA), a non-governmental organization running children’s library campaigns in Asia, to produce original picture books for the children of Afghanistan. The first, completed in 2014, was Orphan Girl, and samples of the latest, an original story by a local artist and writer, The Tortoise and the Fig Tree, were recently delivered to the Center from SVA with the 1,200 copies printed and published in each of Dari and Pashto, the major languages of Afghanistan.

(Children holding copies of the finished picture book,
The Tortoise and the Fig Tree)

The printed picture book is being distributed by the staff in SVA’s Afghanistan office to libraries in 74 elementary schools in eastern Kabul and Nangarhar (approximately 114,000 pupils) and to seven public libraries.

(Girls reading in the library of an elementary school)

According to a United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report, citizens caught up in hostilities and terrorism who died in the last year reached 3,699, the highest number recorded since the UN began detailed surveys in 2009. The dead and injured numbered more than any previous years, among them children, up 40 percent, and women, up 21 percent on the previous year. The school attendance rate has improved since 2002 thanks to the Back to School Campaign run by the Ministry of Education, but it appears there are schools that continue to be under threat from worsening security and attacks by armed, anti-government insurgents. The Center hopes that in these trying circumstances, The Tortoise and the Fig Tree will help to bring the joy of reading to the children of Afghanistan.

The picture book can be seen and read at the Global Collaboration Center, or at the University library.

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