The project is set in the Onaba village of the Panjshir Province in Afghanistan, where Mahboba’s Promise operates. The library resource centre is part of the Mahboba’s Promise Hope House, Panjshir Province which serves as a home and educational centre for orphaned and disadvantaged children in the district.
Since 2001, while some infrastructure has been put in place and large areas demined, little has changed to improve the lives of ordinary people in the Panjshir Province. The latest available District Development Plan (Onaba District, Panjshir Province) published in late 2009 presents their situation as a
harsh poverty and a weak economy…. attributed to low level of agricultural and livestock production, limited access to basics infrastructure and social services and high incidents of natural disasters.
Addressing the limited access to basic educational and social services in the province inspired the development of the MAMA Library. Inadequate educational materials, textbooks and teachers, as well as the security situation, all constitute barriers to children receiving an adequate education in Afghanistan. Education is a crucial development enabler, and the need for improved resources and breaking down the barriers to education was acute in the Panjshir Province.
The direct beneficiaries of this project are the orphans and disadvantaged children who have started using the centre. The additional benefits transcend the immediate reach of the centre; indirectly, school students, university students and culture departments of the Panjshir, Parwan and Kapisa Provinces, as well as the communities of the Onaba and Djuscent districts as well as the Parwan and Kapisa Provinces benefit from the presence and resources of the library. Directly, over 80 orphan boys and girls will benefit from extensive use of the centre.
The Mahboba’s Promise team in Panjshir worked hard to ensure that all of the local communities were aware of the library and what it has to offer; by engaging with people through direct contact, telephone calls, social media and the local news, they ensured that all local people approved of the plan to install the library, and were excited about being able to start using it. The variety and breadth of subjects and schools of thought exhibited in the library make it, according to project manager Omar Rawi
a truly unique library in the Panjshir Province.
The high quality books chosen to be available in the resource centre include a multitude of genres and suit a variety of ages and abilities. These include children’s story books, subjects related to school curriculum, psychology, Persian literature, English dictionaries and grammar, agriculture, novels, poetry, law, economics, management and accounting.
The recent opening ceremony included attendance by the Panjshir Governor’s Office, Head of Departmental Sectors including Head of Public Health, Work and Social Affairs, Head of Department of Commerce, District Security Commandment Commander, influential figures, community leaders, and of course, the children.
The MAMA Resource Centre is contributing to the following outcomes:
- a functional library equipped with shelving, tables, chairs, carpets, and computers;
- educational materials available for loan; primary education, vocational education and human rights education;
- girls and women in particular are encouraged to attend the library;
- a qualified Librarian operates the loan of books and materials;
- promotion of the library resource to the children in the local community, as well as adults seeking further vocational education materials; and
- the library will become a learning centre for the community and a focal point for out of school supplementary education.