Students taking the calligraphy test at the Institute for Afghan Arts & Architecture
Farid and his classmates have just begun the 2012 school year, full of hope for the future and thoughts of protecting the past. In January, Farid was just one of 330 perspective students, including 35 female candidates, who applied for 68 positions at the Institute for Afghan Arts & Architecture.
The latest group of students, including 18 women, entered the arts department in March 2012, taking classes in calligraphy, ceramics, woodwork, and jewelry design, all hoping to forge a career as artisans.
The objective of this program is to revive and restore the threatened cultural and artistic traditions of Afghanistan, while improving opportunities for young Afghans. With the support of USAID, 94 students have graduated since 2009, with graduates moving on to higher education or establishing their own business.
Atihullah, a student in the department of woodwork, believes his experience at the Institute changed his life: “The skills and connections I’ve gained during my three years of study helped earn a living, support my family, and have presented me with opportunities that would have been nothing more than a dream without this program,” says Atihullah. At a recent exhibit, he was commissioned to create a significant wood working project for a home in Kabul, giving him hope that he can open his own business someday.
The students at the Institute of Afghan Arts and Architecture all stand a good chance of being employed either in their own businesses or with larger arts and industry companies immediately after graduation.
USAID has been supporting the Institute to provide training to a new generation of artisans since 2008, and thanks to this support, the Institute is expecting to educate more young Afghans who not only promote Afghanistan’s arts and architecture, but more importantly, play an integral role in protecting their culture and heritage, while contributing to the country’s economy.
New Generation of Afghan Artisans