Sowing the Seeds of Permaculture in Afghanistan

From info at The Garden at the End of the World

Australian documentary filmmaker Gary Caganoff’s latest film on Afghanistan was honoured last year with a Human Rights award from the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), and SIGNIS (the World Catholic Association of Communication), for its rare sensitivity in the portrayal of human rights issues of ordinary people.

Caganoff (who describes himself in the film as “Jewish with Buddhist tendencies”) explains, “The film is not religious, nor is it political. It manages to fly under the radar of both and focus on basic human rights issues that aren’t being addressed by either. Rosemary, Mahboba and Mahboba’s Uncle Haji, featured in the film, are true heroes. They work with passion and humility to help the Afghani women and children re-build their lives. This award is a wonderful recognition of their inspiring work.”

Many people who have seen The Garden At The End of the World have been asking for an update on the progress of the permaculture work in Afghanistan and specifically with Australian aid organisation Mahboba’s Promise, featured in the film.

Carrying on from the end of the film, the children that were eventually housed in the horrible building that contained ‘the basement’, were moved, after a year there, to a beautiful new building built by Mahboba’s Promise on the outskirts of Kabul. Mahboba named this new building Hope House. (You can read more here). Not forgetting Uncle Haji’s original orphanage near the centre of Kabul, (which recently received a make-over) Hope House accommodates dozens more orphan children and is run by Mahboba’s brother, Sadiq.

Rosemary Morrow, featured in the film, has not yet returned to Afghanistan as she had hoped, however there are others who have  continued where she left off. Invited by Mahboba, Geoff Lawton, of Permaculture Research Institute Australia visited Hope House in 2007 and helped establish the vegetable garden. Sadiq saw the benefits of permaculture’s whole-design system and undertook a permaculture design course with Geoff in Jordan in 2009. On that visit Geoff founded the Permaculture Institute of Afghanistan.

“Early in 2009 Mahboba’s Promise purchased 5 acres of land just outside Kabul for the purpose of creating a permaculture site. It will be used as a training centre for widows, orphans, school groups and the local community and ultimately farmers throughout Afghanistan. We will establish a demonstration permaculture garden, a community garden and a nursery which will produce future income for the project. The objective is for the site to be self-sustaining within 5 years.

Muslim Aid Australia has generously provided most of the funding for this project. They have also had major input into the overall concept and planning of the project. The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia has kindly helped with the site design, training and overall consultancy.

“Construction of fencing, buildings, water storage and land forming is well underway with planting to commence late in 2010.” Ref, Mahboba’s Promise.

In 2010 permaculturalist Paul (Ringo) Kean went to work for a few months at the site and produced the following 15-minute video on the progress there. (Note that the time code says it’s over 30 min, but the video repeats for some reason.)

If you want to donate to this project please got to Mahboba’s Promise website.

The DVD is available from the film’s website: http://www.TheGardenAtTheEndOfTheWorld.Info

3 responses to “Sowing the Seeds of Permaculture in Afghanistan

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  2. Recently I wrote a blog entry offering a leftist critique of the ideology of “Green” environmentalism, permaculturalism, deep ecology, eco-feminism, and lifestyle politics in general (veganism, “dumpster diving,” “buying organic,” “locavorism,” etc.). I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter and any responses you might have to its criticisms.

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