In taking the oath that finalized our induction into the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, we pledged to fulfill the three simple goals of the Peace Corps' mission. The first two were what animated most of our time as Peace Corps volunteers in Afghanistan. Fulfilling the Third Goal is our continuing obligation to Peace Corps, to America and to the men and women of Afghanistan whose friendship, hospitality and humanity helped us in our metamorphosis from the idealistic young novices, who volunteered years of our lives, to the keepers of the proud badge of honor that we all hold today as Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.
Goals of the American Peace Corps Volunteers of Afghanistan
- Helping the people of Afghanistan in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- Helping to promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of Afghan citizens.
- Third and by implication our final post service goal, helping to promote a better understanding of the people and culture of Afghanistan on the part of our fellow American citizens.
Whether it is organizing a reunion, speaking at an event, taking part in a fundraiser for an humanitarian or charitable project in Afghanistan or simply letting our guests at a dinner party know about our service in Afghanistan we are engaging in fulfilling the Third Goal of the US Peace Corps. Let Peace Corps and the NPCA know about your Third Goal activities by writing to Vivian, firstname.lastname@example.org and to Anne, email@example.com. Both Vivian and Anne are eager to hear what you are doing to promote the Third Goal and will share some of our stories with members of the US Congress. Send Friends of Afghanistan a cc as well.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Continuing Service – Friends of Afghanistan
Even before the recent launch of the “Let Girls Learn” campaign lead by the Obama administration, Friends of Afghanistan (FoA) has worked to better their host nation and increase development opportunities for Afghan women and children since their organization’s inception in 1991.
FoA has supported six “bricks and mortar” gender equity schools to date, where tens of thousands of Afghan girls gain an education they might not otherwise have received. Additionally, FoA provides ongoing financial support to SOLA, the School of Leadership – Afghanistan, which acts to develop the next generation of female Afghan leaders.
Beyond funding and overseeing school operations, FoA has supported Afghan students by organizing the collection of over 3,000 lbs. of school supplies for distribution to nine rural Afghan school districts and SOLA. Other FoA educational programs are vocational, like the Bamiyan Weavers Project, which empowers female weavers to efficiently market their products.
FoA has organized an incredible breadth of programs, but they also promote other RPCVs who continue serving Afghanistan. By establishing the Third Goal Award andStarfish Award, FoA encourages RPCVs to share the Afghanistan experience with home communities and acknowledges special efforts made by Volunteers to enrich Afghan lives. Learn more about Friends of Afghanistan.
The Loret Miller Ruppe Awards will be presented at Peace Corps Connect – Berkeley on June 6, 2015.
Learn more about the Ruppe Award, including past winners and how to nominate future winners, on the NPCA website Awards page.
Friends of Afghanistan
Third Goal Award to
Louise M. Pascale, Ph.D
The Peace Corps Third Goal is to "strengthen
Americans' understanding about the world and its peoples."
Pascale probably never imagined that her songbook project would receive new
life decades later on the heels of the American invasion of Afghanistan. As a
Peace Corps volunteer in Kabul, Louise began the book in 1966 and Kabul Press
published it in 1968
— President John F. Kennedy
Louise found her tattered and faded copy of the songbook in a bookcase and guessed
that it was probably the only one still in print. She resolved to republish and
repatriate its vanished cultural treasures as a gift to the Afghan people—especially
for the children and grandchildren of the students she had taught 35 years earlier.
Thus began the Afghan Children's Songbook
Pascale recorded and preserved Many traditional children’s songs and nursery
rhymes from various regions and tribal groups throughout Afghanistan. A number of
these cultural gems had been lost in the turmoil of war, starting with the
Soviet invasion, continuing through the Civil War, and culminating under the
infamous Taliban. The Taliban’s benighted rule banned virtually all traditional
Afghan songs, and replaced them with religious dirges.
enormous effort researching, arranging, rehearsing, recording, and working with
talented musicians in the U.S. and Canada, Dr. Pascale published a new edition—five
years after that fortuitous discovery, and forty years after its first
publication. The expanded Children’s Songs from Afghanistan: Qu Qu Qu
Barg-e-Chinaar is available in English and Dari. The purchase of every songbook
in the U.S. funds the free distribution of four books in Afghanistan. Books may
be ordered from afghansongbook.org
The Alphabet Song video from the Small Heaven orphanage in Kabul.... is the real thing! These kids were fabulous and note they are reading along. This is what inspired me to write a teacher's guide. Despite no encouragement, they are teaching themselves to read! I love it.
— Louise Pascale, Lesley University,
Creative Arts in Learning
For her work publishing QU QU QU BARG-E-CHINAAR Children's Songbook: Dr. Louise Pascale will receive our 2011 Third Goal Award. All income from US sales goes to publish a Farsi version of the book for free distribution in Afghan elementary schools. 30,000 of these books have already been distributed in Afghanistan. Louise was the first RPCV ESL teacher for SOLA students while on sabbatical in the Fall of 2009 from her teaching duties at Lesley University.
To date, there are 30,000 songbooks distributed to children in schools and orphanages across Afghanistan.T
here is also now available a newly created Teacher's Guide that accompanies the songbook. The Teacher's Guides include 6-8 creative ideas to implement that reinforce not only the wonderful traditional Afghan music but enhance reading and writing skills. To help in this effort, the last 5000 songbook packages that were just distributed also included, in addition to a CD and cassette, a small notebook and 2 pencils. With these simple resources, the children can practice basic literacy skills.
We are currently working on producing a 2nd songbook and Teacher's Guide.
Lesley University Creative Arts in Learning Division
Update from Tony Agnello
Sept. 9, 2011
Among our most important purposes is to continue to facilitate peaceful and constructive dialogue about Afghanistan as we honor our commitment to the Third Goal of Peace Corps. In addition to numerous published articles, film presentations, public appearances and community reports about our host nation by our members, the following is a list of projects and partner organizations that Friends of Afghanistan is currently working with or has supported during the past year:
Considering a Sixth School: Our leadership has actively promoted the construction of five schools three of which have been exclusively for girls with the others allowing girls in split session. We have assisted student and community groups in fundraising and connecting with partners in Afghanistan capable of implementing our projects in country.
School of Leadership, Afghanistan: Friends of Afghanistan tangibly supports SOLA, which provides vocational and educational services to returning exchange students and other bright young Afghans. The students work with SOLACE & the AWWP (below) and other organizations while they study English and prepare scholarship applications. SOLA has opened a women's dormitory where women from outside Kabul can come and study in a safe environment. SOLA‘s Director is Ted Achilles who is the 2011 recipient of Friends of Afghanistan’s Starfish Award (type Rostam Starfish Initiative into Google) serves as a field officer and is our chief representative in Kabul. http://www.sola-afghanistan.org/
SOLACE for the Children, brought thirty four Afghan children to the US for medical treatment. Interested in establishing your region as a satellite center? SOLACE is administered in Kabul by SOLA Director Ted Achilles. See http://www.solaceforthechildren.org
Starfish Initiative: Friends of Afghanistan has supported mini grants and the purchase of modestly priced products that can offer sustainable income for families and support for small communities. Visit the Starfish Initiative page on this site.
Afghan Women's Writing Project is developing the writing of Afghan women throughout Afghanistan for publication in the USA. The women write in English and are supported by published American authors via an online classroom developed by FoA and administered in Kabul through SOLA. Satellite programs for other cities are currently in the planning stage. http://awwproject.org
Distance Learning: FoA has contributed to the purchase of computers and equipment needed to establish a international communication system and a Distance Learning platform for SOLA Students in Kabul, connecting them with American female students for dialogue and peer tutorials. This physical plant will serve as an Internet Café for women.
QU QU QU BARG-E-CHINAAR Children's Songbook: FoA purchased 35 copies of RPCV Louise Pascale's song books for the Afghan children receiving medical treatment in the USA through the work of SOLACE and SOLA. FoA plans continued support for Pascale's effort and has selected Dr. Louise Pascale to receive our 2011 Third Goal Award. All income from US sales goes to publish a Farsi version of the book for free distribution in Afghan elementary schools. 14,000 of these books have already been distributed in Afghanistan. Louise was the first RPCV ESL teacher for SOLA students while on sabbatical this past fall, from her teaching duties at Lesley College. http://www.facone.org/musicshop/afghan_book.htm Pennies for Peace Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the Windom Elementary School project in support of Greg Mortensen’s CAI efforts. Mortensen wrote Three Cups of Tea and has recently released Stones into Schools.
These programs provide opportunities for American organizations to assist the women and children of Afghanistan and oppose the extremist philosophies that oppress them. For more information to start a program to help Afghan students send inquiries to
Friends of Afghanistan at the following email address: email@example.com. Be sure to put your organization and/or your proposed project in the email title line.