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Its goal is to strengthen civil society through education of children and women, and training in communication and information skills.
In 2001, National Geographic Fellow and world-renowned photojournalist Reza Deghati founded Aina to educate and empower Afghans, especially women and children in the use of media, communication and information. Reza believed these skills could contribute to the building of a free and open society by supporting sustainable development, promoting human rights, and strengthening national unity. Since its inception, Aina has had a significant impact on civil society in Afghanistan. Over 1,000 women and men have been trained in media and communication skills, with more than 90% now employed using these skills. Eight publications have been produced and are in circulation, including two women's magazines and one children's magazine, Parvaz. In addition, the first documentary called Afghanistan Unveiled, by an all-female production team, produced by Aina, was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2005. An exhibit of AINA trained photographers was shown at The Half King in New York, which is known for exhibiting works of photojournalists.
Aina supports the development of media and cultural structures and the production of educational material in a country undergoing reconstruction. In this way, and through the training and cultural learning it provides, Aina contributes to Afghan education and promotes a spirit of peace and freedom, the very foundation of democracy. Aina's cross-disciplinary training program is based on new technologies, introducing participants to the electronic age. It is mainly intended for women and children, whose development has long been neglected in Afghan society. .
Aina supports and develops cultural projects and independent local media, all critical tools to rebuild civil society, and also works to establish media and cultural centers.
Training in new communication technologies is aimed at speeding up the emergence of local Afghan media structures necessary for the nation to join the information and communication society of the 21st century. Aina helps disseminate educational and peace-promoting messages that foster the creation of a civil society by involving local people in carrying out large-scale communication campaigns.
Parvaz : Window on the World - The magazine of children who dream big
Parvaz, the first and only children's magazine in Afghanistan, was launched in August 2002 in Kabul - with the cooperation of major educational institutions and foundations. Parvaz will be reproduced in other parts of the developing world using a name suitable to each country and culture.
The concept of Parvaz is to be a high-quality, full-color magazine, aimed at becoming the publication of reference for children in developing countries, as well as an educational support tool for teachers and family
The magazine has been defined around the concepts of creativity, color and friendship. The magazine strives for an equality of the right to knowledge across cultures, generations and genders. Parvaz is a window on the world for children who have grown up in war and poverty. By introducing them to other cultures, ways of life and beliefs, it promotes tolerance. The adults of tomorrow will thus communicate with mutual respect and understanding- instead of violence and fear.
The content of Parvaz Afghanistan is designed and produced in Kabul by an all Afghan team of journalists, writers, illustrators and photographers who were trained at Aina.
Parvaz covers a wide variety of subjects: sciences, geography, music, nature, sports, games, Afghan traditions, history, religion, technology, folk tales and stories.
Through text, illustrations, photos, exploded diagrams and educational cartoons, Parvaz helps children develop their imagination, their passion for reading, and their ability to observe and analyse.
Parvaz is distributed through the networks of most of the national and international organizations that work with children and within education in Afghanistan, including the Ministry of Education.
Each edition of 40,000 copies is read and shared by 500,000 children all over Afghanistan.
Thirteen issues have been produced and distributed in Afghanistan.
A version of Parvaz - called Yuti - was launched in Sri Lanka in response to the devastation of the tsunami in 2006.
- Aina's website
- Aina, a human adventure on National Geographic's website
- About Aina on Guardian
- About Aina on Cultures of resistance
- National Geographic Fellow