(see press coverage below)
(see press coverage below)
I highly recommend this book...it will certainly be on the reading list of international staff and senior Afghan managers working for Save the Children in Afghanistan. We all need to know what has been gained for Afghan children at great cost and what could be lost if we do not demonstrate the grit and solidarity necessary to help Afghanistan through the coming years.
─Jasmine Whitbread, CEO, Save the Children International
The future of any society depends on the foundation its children are being given right now. Children of Afghanistan: The Path to Peace is a very important resource.
─Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children’s Defense Fund
Children of Afghanistan: The Path to Peace gives a comprehensive account of the vast challenges that Afghan children face on all fronts. This book is instrumental to understanding the significance of investing in Afghan children and helping them to overcome the conflict-torn conditions of poverty, lack of access to education and basic healthcare, and inequality.
─Dr. Helene D. Gayle, President and CEO of CARE USA
The state of Afghanistan’s children is a reflection of our history, culture, economic condition and the complex factors that shape the making of our nation. I congratulate the University of Texas Press (Louann Atkins Temple Women and Culture Series) for vividly capturing a snapshot of Afghan children’s situation in a way that evokes respect, empathy and interest in their well-being. Enduring peace, a robust democracy and gender equality may remain elusive in our lifetime. But investing in the children of Afghanistan is the most precious gift that we do today to make life a little bit better for the next generation. Apart from its incisive analysis of the way children are impacted by the issues in their environment, Children of Afghanistan: The Path to Peace also provokes thinking about what we need to change as a nation. The experience of war, imprisonment, unhealthy discipline, child marriage, child labor, life in the streets, disability, poor nutrition, illiteracy, etc. leave adverse consequences that derail our children’s journey -- especially girls -- toward a beautiful future. May this book remind us that whatever we do with our children determines the fate of our nation in the future. Well done, Jennifer Heath and Ashraf Zahedi!
─-Dr. Massouda Jalal, former Minister of Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs, 2004 presidential candidate and founder/executive director of the Jalal Foundation
No comprehensive study to date chronicles the situation of Afghanistan's children, their suffering, mistreatment and neglect by the state, their struggle to survive. This book makes a significant contribution, raises international awareness, and would be useful to policymakers engaged in the provision of aid and development, as well as to students and scholars.
─Hafizullah Emadi, Development Consultant, Afghanistan
The book not only skillfully brings to life the rich tapestry and the ancient culture of a war-torn nation through the eyes of its children, but it reminds us of the heart of the world where innumerable forces continue to callously crush innocence in their pursuit of dominance. We close the book with a conflicted heart—saddened by our own helplessness to stop these senseless wars, but inspired by the resilience of children that keep the fertile land of the heart alive with the flame of hope.
─Avideh Shashaani, President of the Fund for the Future of Our Children
The future of a country lies in its investment in its children, and few could bring more experience and understanding of Afghanistan's children than the editors of this book, Jennifer Heath and Ashraf Zahedi. One of the "youngest" countries in the world, 50% of the Afghan population is under the age of 15. For these youngsters, Afghanistan's wars have been an attack on their childhood. With its thoughtfully and expertly curated collection of essays by key contributors, this book demonstrates how the future of this fragile and conflicted country is tied to its children, and makes a strong case that they be understood and supported as never before. It gives a comprehensive analysis of issues facing Afghan children and has recommends ways to address those issues. The editors and authors make a strong argument for investing in children and youth as being central to building human capital, fostering development, and securing a lasting peace. The editors urge finally that this is not just a sound policy choice but a moral obligation.
─Sandra B. Cook, PhD, co-chair Board of Directors, Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation for the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University, and Vice President of American University of Afghanistan
Although Afghanistan has made significant progress in the past decade, it still faces daunting challenges. Life for children remains especially harsh, with more than half experiencing malnourishment. Children of Afghanistan brings to bear the harsh reality of Afghan childhood and is an important contribution to our understanding of contemporary Afghanistan. Heath and Zahedi’s enlightening volume underscores the need to prioritize children’s lives and development to secure Afghanistan’s future.
─Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow, The Council on Foreign Relations
Children of Afghanistan is an extremely enlightening and remarkable book that sheds light into the harsh realities of Afghan children’s lives. This book was urgently needed and is timely, as Afghan children currently comprise 65 percent of Afghanistan’s population and are the pillar of the future of a peaceful Afghanistan. This essential book succeeds in describing and reviewing many aspects of Afghan children’s lives, including, social, economic, cultural, educational, and political. The authors beautifully lay out the diversities and complexities of the young population in light of the past 30 years of wars, losses, and the current political climate. The writers also show that Afghan children are resilient despite many adversities they have faced through unending wars, trauma, and harms. Afghanistan does not have any real chance for peace, prosperity, and security as long as its youth lack good physical and mental health. Therefore, the authors make no apology about the importance of creating a national campaign to raise awareness about children’s well-being. The book is a must read and should be assigned as a required reading to courses in cross-cultural and child development studies.
─Dr. Nahid Aziz, Associate Professor, American School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, Washington, DC and Vice President, Afghan Education for a Better Tomorrow
Editors Ashraf Zahedi and Jennifer Heath have delivered a much needed new vision for the future of Afghanistan in Children of Afghanistan: The Path to Peace, a book of essays by Afghans and a broad range of experts with years of experience working in Afghanistan. Each contributor’s unique focus on cultural, historical, political and personal factors skillfully leads the reader to the realization of how and why Afghanistan must be moved beyond the mere goal of survival after four decades of war into a stable and productive nation able to take care of its own children’s future. A must read for anyone with a serious interest in creating long term solutions for all of Afghanistan’s people.
─Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story
This book emphasizes that the future socio-political strength of Afghanistan is tied to its children, and that ignoring their needs is tantamount to nullifying most of the efforts of the international community to bring them peace and stability.
─Senzil Nawid, Southwest Institute for Research on Women, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Arizona
Investing in children means investing in a lasting peace. Children of Afghanistan: The Path to Peace is a great contribution, especially for those who wish to learn about children's lives in conflict settigs and those in search of ways to invest in children for the long term. Jennifer Heath and Ashraf Zahedi have done a great job gathering scholars and practitioners to explore many different aspects of Afghan children's lives and the challenges they face.
─Orzala Ashraf Nemat: Founder of Youth & Women's Leadership Centre and Trustee of Afghanaid, UK
Children of Afghanistan: A Path to Peace (edited by Jennifer Heath and Ashraf Zahedi) provides the reader a variety of insights into the ways in which long-term war and violence impact children, their lives and their social and emotional development. With chapters written by scholars, human rights activists and health specialists, the book covers a wide range of topics to convey highly nuanced glimpses into the children’s lives. Each chapter brings out the struggles, hopes and, dare I say it, the dashed hopes children face as they grow up in the midst of continuing uncertainty. Afghanistan is not a country that allows one to predict what might happen next; it is a country that contains great diversity and resiliency. As a medical anthropologist who lived and worked in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2007, I found that many chapters conveyed new perspectives or information that increased my understanding of the situation, particularly for the period after 2009, when I last worked in Kabul. I would hope that university courses on child development, women’s studies, anthropology/sociology and education consider using this as one of their textbooks. It is written to undergraduate readers, but would also be extremely useful to those who work on child protection issues.
─Patricia A Omidian, Ph.D, Director of Focusing International and the author of When Bamboo Bloom
Children are the silent majority in Afghanistan. Despite development efforts, most are poor with bleak futures in this war-torn country. They also are sadly undereducated, and help from the outside benefits only a few. This great and unique book fills a dire need for information. Its 22 contributors discuss the state of affairs of children and childhood thoroughly and with empathy from various points of view and go way beyond stereotypes, pity and pleas for action. The articles delineate causes for the plight of the young, from political and social history to family relations, from poverty to educational policies. The insights enable readers to appreciate the complexity of social webs in Afghanistan, and enable agents of change to formulate realistic goals for improving conditions of life, and help local people attain their aspirations for their children. A font of solid information and heartfelt personal observations, this exceptional, hopeful book not only illustrates children’s and adults’ resilience in the face of privations and danger, but also provokes reflection about the modernist/humanist agenda that drives development efforts.
─Erika Friedl, Ph.D, Professor of Anthropology and the author of The Children of Deh Koh.