The Peace Corps Third Goal is to "strengthen
Americans' understanding about the world and its peoples."
Louise 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
In 2003, 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 Project.
Dr. 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.
After 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
— 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.