Music Program at AFCECO Orphanages
AFCECO’s music program was established seven years ago with the generous support of a beloved sponsor Rose Vines who donated in honor of her mother to establish music class at our orphanages. The program has developed to a degree we could not have dreamed. Thanks to Dr Ahmad Naser Sarmast who was kind enough to offer his school as an option, many of our students now attend the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Today, one hallmark of AFCECO is a dynamic music program. Beyond the acknowledged benefits of such a program for children everywhere (greater intelligence, building culture, character development), it must be emphasized how tremendous this is in regards to AFCECO’s core mission to nurture the development of a democratic spirit from within the very heart of Afghan society. In particular, once a girl experiences playing a cello, or piano, or sitar on stage, in public, once she falls in love with her art and becomes inseparable from the power of self-expression, she will never be enslaved by paternalistic mores, never again be sequestered to the corner of a kitchen, to serve and not be seen. The introduction of music to our girls and boys, both traditional central Asian and western orchestral instruments has meant a development of culture, character and confidence no other program could have achieved.
Many of these students have actually performed on the greatest stages in the world including Carnegie Hall. They have played on International stages in different countries including, United States, Argentina, UK, Germany, Estonia, Oman, Turkey, Dubai, India, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This year five AFCECO students graduated from ANIM who are also the first generation of musician graduates at AFCECO.
It is important to note we are at a crucial juncture in the music program. We are experiencing growing antagonism toward our teaching music, especially to girls. Now more than ever we feel the need to keep the music flowing. AFCECO has experienced pressure from some people within the Afghan government and from extreme elements in society that believe an Afghan woman should remain in a house as slave to her husband. Yet the Afghan constitution does not deny music. Our female musicians are modeling a new and inspiring role for Afghan women. Their performances resist and gradually chip away at the misogynist society. It is also a crucial time because now our students are entering a new phase of their education, from intermediate to exceptional. Experience the brave young musicians yourself by watching their performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. February 2013.
Today these budding musicians have lost their sponsorships and no donor is willing to support them. We believe there is no better language of peace than music, no greater exchange of emotion and wisdom. If you could see the effect music has had on our children of war you would see it written in their eyes, in their smiles and their heads held high. Please consider becoming a sponsor of our music program. Please join in this chance to nurture something so positive and life affirming in our children and consequently Afghanistan, and as you can see through the above concert link, the world.