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My multicultural, diverse home Afghanistan

Promotion of intercultural dialogue and tolerance attitudes among children through arts and music expression.

Reintroducing arts and traditional music as well as diffusing knowledge of history and customs are essential for a successful reconstruction process in Afghanistan. They can foster the development of a common identity and lay the foundation for intercultural dialogue and tolerance in the region.

UNESCO Kabul office in cooperation with several divisions of the UNESCO Cultural Sector and the Polish Humanitarian Organization (PHO) has successfully implemented a project that aims at furthering intercultural dialogue through diffusing cultural knowledge especially among children.

In its initial phase in 2003 the project revitalised at the grass roots level the practice of making traditional musical instruments and teaching traditional music to thirty women and girls. It aimed at encouraging musical expression among different groups, helped to reintroduce music as one of the basic expressions of cultural identity and permitted the reintroduction of a trade which had almost disappeared when the majority of musical instrument makers fled to neighbouring countries during the Taliban regime.

Building on the successful experiences made during the introductory phase, the target group as well as the subjects taught were extended in a second phase which started in 2005. Approximately one hundred girls and boys coming from different ethnic backgrounds, who are living in the Allahudin and Tahiye Maskan Orphanages in Kabul, were taught how to play traditional musical instruments such as tabla, armonia and rubab, learned traditional songs, and took part in arts classes. In interactive lectures on cultural diversity they were additionally given the opportunity to share their own diverse cultural backgrounds and learn about Afghanistan's history, traditions, and ethnic groups in order to encourage intercultural dialogue and to build a tolerant and respectful attitude and an awareness of the positive values of a multifaceted culture.

The children enjoyed the classes very much, developed self esteem and showed a thirst of interest in all subjects. In special events, concerts, exhibitions, and performances of short plays, they will have the possibility not only to present what they learned to a broader public but also to show how children of different social and ethnic backgrounds can interact and work together in a fruitful way.

Lead Organization / Sector / Office UNESCO Kabul office, UNESCO Divisions of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue; Art and Cultural Enterprise; Cultural Heritage.
Associated Organization(s) Polish Humanitarian Organization (PHO), AINA