Congratulations to Pen Farthing

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All of us at PARSA are proud to announce that Nowzad’s founder, Pen Farthing, has been announced as a 2014 CNN Hero. Nowzad is an animal-rescue organization based in Kabul that helps soldiers who have bonded with dogs and cats while on tour reconnect with their adopted pets in their home country – so far Nowzad has helped 700 soldiers. Nowzad also works to promote animal welfare in Afghanistan and runs a “trap, neuter, vaccine, and release” program to help control the city’s massive population of stray animals, and also help combat rabies.

PARSA has a special connection to Nowzad as they first began operations in Kabul at the PARSA compound in Marastoon. Pen, Louise Hastie – who manages the Kabul kennels, and all of Nowzad’s Afghan staff are dear friends of all of us at PARSA. They have helped many of us take care of the four-legged friends that we have adopted here in Afghanistan and help keep us sane.

To learn more about Nowzad visit their website or check out Pen’s latest book about his work, called “Wylie: The Dog That Never Gave Up”. Congratulations Pen for being named a CNN hero – a well-deserved honor indeed.

Conflict Kitchen Interviews at Shamsa

A few months ago PARSA was contacted by a restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called Conflict Kitchen. The restaurant follows a unique concept: they only serve food from countries that the US is in conflict with, and they do their best to educate their customers about an aspect of each country that they would not normally see in US media.

For Afghanistan, Conflict Kitchen decided that they wanted to share stories from the point of view of Afghan children. And not stories related to war and conflict, just stories that tell about the everyday lives of the children and how they see the world. PARSA was contacted because of the work we do with children – both through the Afghan Scouts and through our orphanage work – and Yasin and Alyssa agreed to conduct interviews with children from Shamsa Village Orphanage.

It was quite a fun experience for everyone involved – the list of questions that Conflict Kitchen suggested we ask were very unconventional and the kids giggled away as we asked them things like “if you were an animal, which animal would you be and why?” or “if you were president, what would you do for Afghanistan?”

Conflict Kitchen recently finished compiling stories from children and published a small booklet of the kids’ stories that is now available at their restaurant. We hope that their customers will appreciate the stories from the Shamsa kids – we certainly enjoyed them!

Download the Booklet Here or visit the booklet’s page on the Conflict Kitchen Website.

We would also like to give a special thank you to all the kids at Shamsa Village who offered to be part of the interviews: Qadrat, Qasim, Bashir, Hekmattulah, Aisha, Fatima, Feroza, and Farima. Thanks!

Working in PARSA’s Gardens

Enjoy these pictures of our women’s agriculture training program at the PARSA gardens in Marastoon. The women – most of whom are from our ambitious group based in Dast-i-Barchi – have been practicing their agricultural skills and have used the land at PARSA to plant tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini and more. They also tend to our orchard of fresh apricot trees. The women get to bring home or sell the majority of their crop, and the Afghan Garden Kitchen purchases some of the fresh produce for use in our popular Friday Brunch in Marastoon. It’s a great program and adds to the wonderful atmosphere at our offices.

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