U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry joined Senior Afghan officials, including the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Deputy Mayor of Kabul, Governor of Kabul province and members of parliament to celebrate the reopening of the Women’s Garden in Kabul.
The historic occasion was marked with speeches, awards, and a tour of the garden’s new facilities, including a gymnasium, a library and a a restaurant funded by the Italian government.
“Over the last 30 years this garden turned into a ruin,” said Dr. Husun Ghazanfar, Minister of Women’s Affairs. “But with the assistance of the U.S. government and other international donors, the garden has a new life now. More than ever, it is both a place to relax and to learn.”
The Women’s Garden in Kabul was rehabilitated through USAID’s Food Insecurity Response for Urban Populations (FIRUP) and the Local Governance and Community Development (LGCD) programs, with CARE International acting as the implementing partner for FIRUP, and DAI as the implementer for LGCD. The completed project provides the women of Kabul a safe space to participate in a range of recreational and educational activities, such as gym and sports classes, vocational training, literacy classes, and a place to socialize. The garden also houses the provincial Directorate of Women’s Affairs.
Ambassador Eikenberry noted the leadership of the Director of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Karima Salik, and the efforts of Minister Ghazanfar, Governor Mujadadi, Mayor Nawadesh, and the entire Provincial Development Committee for their efforts to advance the rights of women. “Today marks a new day – and the hope that Afghan women can again have a garden of their own in Kabul,” said Eikenberry. “While this Garden heralds the strength of Afghan women, it is my hope that it will also be seen as a symbol of the United States government’s – and, for that matter, the whole international community’s – support for a lasting friendship and partnership with all Afghans.”
The garden, which encompasses an eight-acre enclosure, was completed in July at an estimated cost of $500,000, and with a 50 percent female workforce.