The Books for Afghanistan (BFA) program is part of the work of the educational nonprofit Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK), which publishes children’s books under the imprint Hoopoe Books.
The Teaching-Stories published by Hoopoe Books are part of Afghanistan’s rich storytelling tradition and for centuries were told and retold in teahouses, on street corners and bazaars, and by family members and friends as they sat around the fire on winter nights. Children learned about themselves and their world through these stories, and through repeated telling adults, too, obtained insight and wisdom to benefit their own experiences and choices.
“These books are so good for young school children. The stories are fantastic! They are typical Afghan cultural stories that were not written but were told to kids by their parents and grandparents at night times when they got together. Afghanistan has been at war for the past 31 years, so the younger generations think that war has always been there. But the truth is Afghanistan has a very rich culture. These stories have very meaningful contents and positive endings that bring beauty and an idea of a positive culture to the minds of young readers. As adults we have the responsibility to remind our children of our past and teach them through living examples that Afghanistan had a proud history. So by distributing these kinds of books to children in schools and community centers we will help them to appreciate their past and once again employ the values the stories contain in their daily life and in their family’s life.”
The stories were selected and written especially for children by the Afghan author Idries Shah, who spent over 30 years of his life collecting hundreds of such tales. Our goal is to “repatriate” as many as we can in book form for the children of Afghanistan: combining the wisdom they contain with the literacy skills that children need to participate and fulfill themselves in the modern world.
With the help of volunteers, donors and grants to cover our costs, we provide bilingual Dari-Pashto and English-only paperbacks, audio readings of each edition, and self-explanatory classroom Teacher’s Guides to schools, orphanages and libraries throughout Afghanistan; and to the many thousands of street children, with the knowledge that:
Give a young girl a book of her own,
$50 WILL PROVIDE 40 CHILDREN WITH A FIRST
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