Our Progress 2018 – 2006


4,764,510 books distributed

In partnership with Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation in Kabul, our Books for Afghanistan program in 2018 donated another 83,245 Hoopoe Books in Dari-Pashto bilingual editions, 16,418 in English only and 113,000 books in minority languages – a total of over 4.7 million books since we started!

November 2018

Hoopoe children’s stories are now available in French-Dari and French-Pashto editions, and in German-Dari and German-Pashto editions. Sold on Amazon and available to booksellers and libraries through Ingram®, these bilingual editions enable children and families of the Afghan diasporas to read wonderful stories in their own languages as well as in French or German, and to share their culture — its differences and commonalities — with their classroom friends. Proceeds from these books supports our Books for Afghanistan program.

We continue to work to create new editions of Hoopoe titles in Afghan minority languages. We have almost completed the layout of nine bilingual editions: in Dari paired with Munji, Shughni, Turkmen, Uzbek, and Hazaragi, and in Pashto paired with Sawji, Nuristani, and Balochi — and we are currently working on Pashai with a translation team from SERVE Afghanistan.

So far, thanks to contributions, we have been able to provide 3,000 copies each of eleven titles for Hazaragi families, 7,000 of each of our twelve titles for children in Nuristani communities, 1,000 copies of four titles in Munji-Dari, plus 1,000 copies of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water by Idries Shah in Sawji-Pashto. Thanks to a grant from Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, we will soon be printing 3,000 Pashai-Pashto copies of Shah’s The Farmer’s Wife, which will be delivered by our Afghan partners KOR to Pashai communities in Kunar and Nangarhar Provinces, and elsewhere in Northeastern Afghanistan.

Group of Afghan boys holding up Hoopoe books

400 hundred books were distributed to children in rural Central Ghazni where people are so poor that the luxury of a book for a girl or boy was a unique pleasure.

Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) received a donation of 960 volumes of Hoopoe books (Dari–Pashto edition) in May 2018 to distribute them to schools.

The books were then distributed to six literacy classes of CW4WAfghan’s Afghanistan Reads! Program and eight public and private schools in Kabul province in May 2018. These schools were identified by CW4WAfghan staff as eligible to be donated library books.

An Afghan girl reads a Hoopoe book for her teacher

A child reads Neem the Half-Boy for her teacher at Nasher private high school.

2 young women in the Kabul Literacy class

Young women at a Kabul Literacy Class run by Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan reading The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water.

3 Afghan girls gathered around a Hoopoe book

Girls from Zainab Kobra high school gather around Neem the Half-Boy.

Afghan student reading Fatima the Spinner and the Tent

A student from Asif Mael high school enjoys Fatima the Spinner and the Tent.

Instructors from Abdul Rahim with new Hoopoe books

Teachers from Abdul Rahim Shaheed high school with a new set of Hoopoe books.

Girls from Zarghona High School school with Hoopoe books.

Students from Zarghona High School enjoying Hoopoe books.

Teacher at Ghulam Mohammad Ghobar high school shows new package of Dari-Pashto Hoopoe books

A teacher at Ghulam Mohammad Ghobar high school shows package of new Dari-Pashto Hoopoe books.

3 boys gathered around a Hoopoe book

Boys from Mumtazane Mashriq private high school with The Magic Horse.

Student and teacher opinion about Hoopoe books impact on their reading: In November 2018, CW4WAfghan staff visited the schools where the Hooope books were distributed to collect feedback from the students and teachers on how these books helped improving their reading and teaching skills. The student and teacher feedback is highlighted below:

Student’s feedback:

  • Reading Hoopoe story books helps them improving their reading and writing skills.
  • Every story has a message that they can use in their daily life.
  • Their knowledge has increased.
  • Reading these books helped them improve their speech skills.
  • It helped them to differentiate between bad and good things.
  • These story books have good images which encourages them to read.
  • A good thing about these story books is that they are in two languages so that students are practicing two languages by reading these story books.
  • They have learned from these books to help others and be kind.
  • They have learned that whenever someone has difficulties, they should not say words to humiliate him/her and should say something to make them happy instead.
  • Hoopoe books taught them that they should learn from each defeat and eventually succeed.
  • The images of Hoopoe books reflect realities of life.
  • Students mentioned that when they read the books, they feel happy.
  • The font used in the books is large enough so all types of learners can read easily.
  • The books have useful stories.

Teacher’s feedback:

  • Librarian mentioned that school teachers are taking these books to their classes to read them to students in their language class hours as the books are interesting for students grade 3-6 because of having good images.
  • Hoopoe books are great teaching material for teachers.
  • These books play important role in student’s reading skills and mental growth.
  • Good tool for teaching how to read.

August 2018

Hazaragi-Dari Hoopoe Books are Now Being Distributed

Roman Gehring and his friends started to distribute 30,000 bilingual Hazaragi-Dari stories by Idries Shah for Hazara children and their families. Taking such pictures of large groups, or even just taking pictures in a “group setting” is usually a bit of a sensitive matter. The photographer assured everyone that the pictures are not going to go to “magazines” for public advertising, but is for those who have contributed toward the printing of the books as a “thank you.”

Hoopoe book distribution at a Hazara village school

Book distribution at a Hazara village school.

Hazara village book distribution at a Mosque

Hoopoe book distribution at a Hazara village mosque.

Reading Hoopoe books in a Hazara village sitting room

Reading Hoopoe books at a Hazara village sitting room.

In one instance a mother with children came to us and said: “I am illiterate, but my husband can read. However, he is at the flour mill today and cannot be here. Could I please, please have a copy of the story books so that when my husband comes home, he can read them to our children?”

Again, we appreciate so much all that you have done for the Hazara villagers and I will be looking for feedback (stories) from readers, parents, teachers as to how the books have impacted them. This may take a little time.

Operation Mercy


“In July we received 2,400 free books from KOR-Hoopoe Books, we distributed the books in our children groups in 9 different areas including Mazar-Sharif.

“The children loved the books and they are reading the books in their groups with the help of the teachers.”

3 Afghan children with Hoopoe books seated on the floor
3 Afghan children with Hoopoe books seated on the floor
Young Afghan girl reading The Old Woman and the Eagle

The Nuristani-Pashto Editions are Now Being Distributed

Afghan boys in a classroom receiving Nuristani-Pashto editions of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water
Afghan boys in a classroom receiving Nuristani-Pashto editions of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water
Afghan boys in a classroom with Nuristani-Pashto editions of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water

Nuristani-Pashto editions have been printed, and distribution has started with The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water by Idries Shah. Our partner David Miller, who coordinated the translation and distribution, sent us this message from the gentleman in charge:

English Translation:
… dear brother, the Nuristani people were very happy about the publication of the Hoopoe books. They were distributed to Nuristani-speaking residents in Kabul and to Nuristani students in Kabul schools and also distributed to Nuristani students and residents in Nangarhar.
The people of Nuristan express their deep gratitude to you and to all those who collaborated on the printing of those books, saying: “May God reward those who contribute to the growth and development of the Nuristani language.”…

Your brother Sunara

The Munji-Dari Books are Now Printed and Being Distributed

adult reading to 2 young Afghan boys
4 Afghan children with hoopoe books
6 Afghan kids holding Hoopoe books

Paul Williamson and friends have begun to distribute the Munji Language Hoopoe books to children and families who live in their city. He tells us that it’s the first time that anyone there has seen children’s books of this quality in their own language. A couple of the girls from one family have had some Munji language literacy training and can already begin to read the books. The parents of these children expressed their thanks and hopes that this kind of encouragements will help their children to grow well and succeed in school.

Paul says “As we are able to bring the books the Munji Valley, we’ll let you know. Right now the Taliban are in the way and the situation is fluid and unstable.” We wish them well and hope things will soon be stable and safe enough to do this.

Darakht-e Danesh (“The Knowledge Tree”) – Online Library Now Hosts Hoopoe Books in Munji-Dari Editions.

Afghan kids gathered around a Hoopoe book.

CERP/ Humanitarian Aid

February 2018
At the end of 2017 Kaylan Harrington, an officer in the US Army deployed near Kabul to head a CERP/ Humanitarian Aid effort, wrote to us to see if we could provide books for students in two girls’ schools. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we were able to write to her and agree to do this …

Kaylan responded:

“This email almost made me cry because I’ve been trying so hard to get books and I’ve had friends and family buying them off amazon. We currently have two pretty rural girls-only schools that we are supporting in Rhish Kvor. Obviously after the draw down, most of the NGOs and funding were cut and these schools have been on their own doing the best they can. We have an unbelievable 3,700 girls total between the two. We’ve spent the last 9 months working to rebuild one school from the ground up. The girls were sitting in the sun on the ground and we gave them new buildings, classrooms and desks and chairs. The second needed desks and chairs and little things.” 

She received the books early this year …

“Thank you soooooo much for the incredible books!!! We’ve been delivering them in waves to make sure every girl gets their own!!! Delivering the books you gave us has been a highlight for me. The girls were so excited and tried to teach us a few words in Dari… and then giggled uncontrollably at our pronunciation. Thank you again!!!!!!!”

Afghan classroom
Army officer handing out Hoopoe books in Afghanistan
Handing out The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water to Afghan students
Afghan girls in classroom with Hoopoe books

Matiullah Wesa’s Mobile Library


Afghan girls seated outside holding up copies of Hoopoe books
Afghan boys near barbed wire fence holding up copies of Hoopoe books

Travelled to a remote village of Kandahar Province to distribute Hoopoe books to local children.

Afghan girl seated in the shade holding a copy of The Silly Chicken

“Amina is a pupil at a school without a building and learning under the shade of a tree. When she was asked about her message to those who don’t allow girls to go to school, she replied ‘our religion and our culture says that girls must go to school’. I was impressed by her powerful message.” —Matiullah Wesa

Afghan girls in an outdoor reading circle with The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal

“We need to focus on girl’s education in remote villages and rural areas. We will have future teachers from the same villages. This will bring about an education revolution and every child will have access to school.” —Matiullah Wesa


Mir Bacha Khan medal

At the beginning of new educational year, President Ashraf Ghani praised Matiullah and his brother Attaullah Wesa’s work by granting them the Mir Bacha Khan medals.

2 men handing out books to Afghan girls seated outside

Attaullah Wesa responded: “I would like to thank Mr. President and Minister of education Dr. Ibrahim Shinwari for their encouragement. However, educating our children is our responsibility not for medal. In the coming year we promise to reopen more schools in other areas of Afghanistan.”


Reading Hoopoe books to children seated under a tree in Afghanistan

“The enemy has shut the gates of our school
Allah, do not extinguish the candle of knowledge
We don’t need walls of marble
A tent on the hillside will do”

Basharmal Nasir (poet)

Saber Hosseini’s Mobile Library


Saber Hosseini handing out The Stranger's Farewell to Afghan children
Saber Hosseini handing out The Stranger's Farewell to Afghan children

In spite of security risks and the often really cold weather, Saber Hosseini continues to ride his bike delivering books to children. He visited Sar Asyab district in Kabul province for the first time. Local children there typically only read books, but he asked them to write summaries of their reading and gave them each two Hoopoe books to read and summarize. He also asked them to record their daily experiences in personal diaries

Saber Hosseini and kids with a variety of Hoopoe books


Saber Hosseini and kids with Hoopoe books
Afghan girls with a variety of Hoopoe books standing outside a school.


Saber Hosseini and kids with Hoopoe books

From Yasha News Agency: Saber Hosseini, director of the mobile library in Bamyan province, Afghanistan distributes story books with a bicycle to send messages of love and peace to children and to promote the culture of reading among them.

Sabir Hosseini believes that our country’s problems are caused by illiteracy. From his point of view, if people in the community had a high level of literacy, we would surely not have problems.

“So it came to my mind that I have to work to eliminate illiteracy, and I thought the best way to start was to educate the children,” said Mr. Hosseini, “because our children are more vulnerable.”

Saber Hosseini and kids with Hoopoe books
Afghan kids with a variety of Hoopoe books in a snow covered landscape
Afghan kids receiving hoopoe books

“Hope in a frustrating world. I have fully come to the conclusion that peace comes through children. Today’s Afghan youth are trapped in religious and racial issues, so it’s hard to expect change from them. Therefore, the only solution is to teach young Afghan children how to avoid prejudice.” 

Saber Hosseini, March 17, 2018

Moska Mobile Library

April & March

“By now 80,000 children have received Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library in Afghanistan. On average we distribute 200 books every day!” 

—Mahir Momand, Founder and Director

The library operates in 5 provinces thanks to volunteers.

Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classrooom with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classrooom with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids outdoors with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classrooom with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classrooom with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classrooom with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classrooom with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classrooom with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classrooom with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library

February & January

“Afghan kids learning peace, co-existence and general knowledge from their colorful storybooks, and they excel in their literacy skills at the same time.”  —Mahir Momand, Founder and Director. The library operates in 5 provinces thanks to volunteers.


Afghan kids with Hoopoe books
Afghan kids with Hoopoe in a classroom
Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile Library
Afghan kids in a classroom with Hoopoe books
Teacher handing out Hoopoe books in a classroom in Afghanistan

Axon Media Group – distributed by Abdullah Tawabzay

4 kids and their father

A teacher and his family in Kabul province read Hoopoe Books.

Kids in an auditorium holding up Hoopoe books

April 4 – “Today we began distribution of Hoopoe Books to 87 children at the Ahmad Ghairt High School in Kabul.”

Ashna Free Education Center

Zia Rhman Khan teaches 500 children using our Dari-Pashto and English books and Teacher Guides.

Kids reading Hoopoe books in a tent
Teenagers in an Afghan classroom with Hoopoe Books


By the end of 2017 over 4.5 million Hoopoe books had been donated to children in Afghanistan since our program started in 2007.

New Afghan Minority Language Program

Nuristani-Pashto edition book covers

Nuristani-Pashto editions of Hoopoe Books

In addition to printing and distributing an additional 107,000 books to children in Afghanistan during 2017, we started our Afghan Minority Language Program. And we have made great progress. Thanks to the steadfast volunteer help from SIL’s expert translators and to your donations, we will publish our first Nuristani-Pashto edition of Hoopoe Books at the beginning of 2018.

The Nuristani translation team will distribute a first printing of 5,000 of each title to schools. With this first printing an estimated 12,000 children in the villages of Bargi Matal District and Kamdesh District of Nuristan Province will read the books in class and be able to take them home so that their siblings, parents, grandparents, and other relatives can use them as well.

Afghanistan is a multilingual country with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. Only about 31% of the adult population (over 15 years of age) can read, and female literacy levels are on average only 17%. Studies show that we all learn to read more easily if we begin to do so in our mother tongue, but storybooks for children in these languages are rare if non-existent. These new Hoopoe editions will enable hundreds of thousands of Afghan children to learn to read their own traditional stories in the language they speak at home; then transfer those skills, using the same story, to their national language — Dari or Pashto — that they will need in order to continue their education.

The benefits that these books bring to children are many: not only are they learning to read and think for themselves, they remember these wonderful stories and refer to them as examples for their actions and behavior; they share them with family and friends, teach their friends and families to read them; and, most importantly, the stories give them a positive internal narrative, replacing one of struggle, war, guns and fighting.

The Embassy of Afghanistan Welcomes Hoopoe!

When volunteer Dan Sperling phoned the cultural attaché’s office of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C., back in April, he was merely hoping to get some advice on how best to reach the Afghan diaspora communities to tell them about the new English-Dari and English-Pashto children’s editions of Hoopoe’s traditional stories from Afghanistan. But it turned out that both the cultural attaché and the ambassador were already familiar with Hoopoe’s books and had given them as gifts to families they knew. So the embassy ended up inviting Hoopoe to display the English-Dari and English-Pashto editions, along with a poster about its Books for Afghanistan program, at an embassy event the following month, as part of the citywide Passport DC festivities on May 6. At that event, Hoopoe volunteers received a warm and enthusiastic reception, and saw a steady stream of visitors at our booth.

Not long afterward, at the invitation of His Excellency Ambassador Mohib, Dan met with him and Cultural Attaché Majeed Qarar to discuss our program, its plans and needs. At the meeting, the ambassador said that we should think of him as “our” ambassador, and that the embassy will help our program in any way it can. He invited Hoopoe to display the English-Dari and English-Pashto editions and Books for Afghanistan material at an embassy reception for the celebrated Afghan girls’ robotics team, which was visiting Washington. Dan and fellow volunteer Steve Whitney attended the July 18 event, which drew a big crowd, many of whom expressed interest in our books and program.

We’re extremely pleased to have enlisted the support of the Afghan Embassy, and look forward to working with them further to help the children of Afghanistan.

“The Afghan embassy was the absolute best! There was dance and music. I listened to the tabla and harmonium, which reminded me of my own Indian culture. I got to see the attan in person, with the people wearing their beautiful clothing. I also learned about the Hoopoe Books for Afghanistan program. Afghans have a long history of story telling. This program provides Afghan children with traditional stories in book form.”

Photo collage from the Afghan Embassy event

Hoopoe’s new English-Dari and English-Pashto editions attracted many people, including Ambassador Mohib and his son, at a May 6 Afghan Embassy event that also featured male attan dancers.

Medica Afghanistan

Literacy education improves the quality of life for women and their families in some of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable, marginalized female-headed households. For many Afghan women, the loss of a husband or father, which too often happens, exposes them to violence and all forms of discrimination. Being able to read makes all the difference.

At the end of 2016 we provided 480 Hoopoe books and Teacher Guides to Medica Afghanistan for their 12 Literacy Centers for women and girls in Kabul, Herat and Balkh provinces. This NGO provides literacy classes for women and girls, as well as psychosocial counseling groups.  Women not only learn reading, writing and basic health care, but also their rights under the Afghan constitution, encouraging them to take part in decision-making in a constructive manner. Classes also provide opportunities for women to practice better communication skills and reduce family conflicts.

Afghan classroom

A student retells the story of The Stranger’s Farewell to the class.

Reading The Silly Chicken together

Students share The Silly Chicken, reading the story together.

The 240 students were able to take books home to share with their children and family members, and then exchange them for others, until everyone had read all 12 Hoopoe titles. They all enjoyed the books tremendously and asked if it were possible to receive more.

Snapshots from Book Deliveries in Late 2017

Delivering books at Bamyan Caves
Reading The Silly Chicken together

Sabir Hosseini delivering books to children in remote areas of Afghanistan.

Boys in Afghanistan with copies of the book The Old Woman and the Eagle
Afghan boys in the classroom with copies of The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal
Young Afghan boys with Hoopoe Books

Moska Mobil Library deliveries to the Khoshkombat area in Jalalabad.

Hoopoe Book delivery to children in Chaparhar district in Nangarhar province
Girls in an outdoor classroom with Hoopoe Books in Chaparhar district in Nangarhar province

Children of Chaparhar district in Nangarhar province received Hoopoe books and educational supplies through Matiullah Wesa.

Nutrition & Education International Health & Nutrition Department (Nei)

Afghan girls in the classroom with Hoopoe books
Young Afghan girl with The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal
Girls holding hot tea and Hoopoe books in Afghanistan

2,235 Hoopoe Books and Teacher Guides were donated to NEI, included in their distribution of soy milk and cookies to schoolchildren in Kabul, Herat, Jalalabad and Badakhshan provinces and to the Afghan Women’s Educational Center Library and the Aschiana Library in Kabul.

The children sent us a lot of beautiful messages, for example:

Thank you from Afghan children
Thank you to Hoopoe Books from Afghan kids
Thank you to Hoopoe Books from Afghan children

Library teachers invited each class to the library where they taught one Hoopoe title every week. They collected feedback from students about the main idea of the story, what they learned from the story and what they thought the positive and negative points of the story were. Teachers were pleased to report an improvement in students reading and writing skills.

“I am happy to share with you that funding for our Seeds of Hope youth clubs was approved so this year we have 2,000 youth in 40 clubs in 10 provinces. We are also continuing the soy snack distribution program for kids. I’m not sure what your capacity is like at this time but we could definitely use over 2,000. Thank you!” —Natasha Kerr, Sr. Coordinator of Program Research & Development, Nutrition and Education International (NEI)

We hope to be able to provide the NEI with 6,000 Hoopoe books, so that each club member has 3 titles to take home and share, then exchange them with another 3, until they have read and shared all 12 Hoopoe books in Dari-Pashto editions.

In February of 2017 we received HADIA Foundation/ Moska Mobile Library’s quarterly report from their Executive Director, Mahir Momand. Their progress has been exceptional. Here are key extracts from that report, useful also in the background information it gives on conditions in Afghanistan at this time:

Afghan girls holding up Hoopoe books (The Farmer's Wife)
Boys in an Afghan classroom enthusiastically holding up Hoopoe books
Afghan boys with copies of the book The Silly Chicken
Girls in Afghanistan holding up copies of The Old Woman and the Eagle
Afghan girls holding up copies of The Magic Horse
Boys in Afghanistan holding up copies of the book The Magic Horse
Afghan Girls holding up copies of the book The Old Woman and the Eagle
Boys and girls in Afghanistan holding up copies of The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah

In Nangarhar province, we continue to cover new districts and villages with our paid librarian who distributes books on daily basis. We are also expanding our coverage to schools, the majority of the new schools are those that are in somewhat remote areas with no buildings where children are taught under the open sky and in some cases under the trees etc. On average, the librarian distributes about 200 books per day.

In Kabul, the library is run by 3 volunteers who have their own full time jobs and one of them is a full-time student. The only time they distribute books is during the weekends, which are on Thursdays and Fridays in Kabul. To be honest, there is much more potential to increase the number of volunteers and a result for the distribution of books, but we are taking a steady and sustainable approach there. I am very aware that the people helping us in Kabul are volunteers and don’t have a lot of time, apart from their weekends. Plus, the economic situation of all these volunteers does not enable them to take time off from work and distribute books. It’s a shame that the economic situation in Afghanistan in general has deteriorated significantly in the past 3 years.

In Herat, since we have dispatched books it has been winter school holidays, which is the same for Kabul but not for Nangarhar (there are different climates in Afghanistan, as you know, and as such different times when schools close for holidays). The distribution of books in Herat has predominately been to orphanages while schools are off. There hasn’t been much distribution in the streets. With the new Afghan year starting in just two weeks time, the schools will also start and the distribution can start there too.

I am most humbled and excited about our expansion to Wardak province where a lot of areas are currently under the Taliban. In coordination with two Wardak based volunteer groups, we have been able to get books to Wardak. As the roads going to districts are also controlled by the Taliban, our volunteers had to practically “smuggle” the books into the province to provide to children who go to “secret” schools. For example, one of the schools is in the house of a tribal elder, where children go (without any school bags on them) to be taught and that’s where the Hoopoe books are kept for them to read. Unfortunately, they can’t take books home because they fear being caught with them. It is very rewarding to know that despite the dire security situation there, we are able to reach out to children and give them access to these beautiful educational books.

As you may be aware, in most areas of Afghanistan once girls reach the age of puberty, they are usually stopped by their families from going to school and are inside their houses all the time. What we have been noticing with Moska Mobile Library in Afghanistan is that such girls are also getting the benefit of our mobile library. They stand at the doorstep of their houses and send their young siblings to the librarian and ask for books. I can imagine, it would be hard for them to have been educated to the extent that they can read and write and then not have access to anything to read. So our books bring them that joy of books. Our librarian in Nangrahar has received letters of thanks from some of such girls, which gives me (at a personal level, a lot of satisfaction) as we are able to operate within the norms of Afghanistan traditions and yet reach out to young girls and ladies with our books. At times, I feel we need books that can cater to these particular groups as I imagine some of them would be finding our books too basic. Please let us know if you can help with that. Knowing that Moska Mobile Library is reaching out and provide books to young girls, who are not allowed by their families, due to traditional reasons, to venture outside their houses as they have reached the age of puberty is very satisfying to me and my colleagues.

Saber Hosseini of the Children’s Book Foundation continues to ride his bicycle all over Bamyan Province, distributing books to boys and girls. In February of 2017 we donated an additional 250 copies of each of 12 Hoopoe titles to help him expand this valuable program. Here’s his moving story of reaching children in the remote village of Ghalaye Miana:

Saber Hosseini and children with Hoopoe books in Afghanistan
Men passing out Hoopoe books to children in Afghanistan
2 Afghan boys with the book Fatima the Spinner and the Tent
Saber Hosseini with Hoopoe books

The people from Ghalaye Miana village had asked me many times to start my work over there. I had promised them to make a plan to start my activities there.

Two days ago an old man came to me with his grandson. I took them to my house. The old man insisted that the kids in his village desperately need books. He said my work and activities can be very beneficial for them. I promised him to bring them books as soon as I can. He was happy. I gave a book to his grandson to borrow and they were happy when they left. I watched him for a while at my front door slowly walk away from me with his walking stick in his hand and his grandson by his side. I came back inside and still could hear his voice in my head over and over. “Our children need books… They will be motivated to study if you come…

I went to their village today. First I found his house. He was so happy to see me. After a short rest, I left to start giving away the books. The old man’s grandkids let the other kids in the village know. After a few seconds kids came from every where and they were in a hurry to get the books. When I was lifting a book to give it away many hands were trying to reach it first. When every kid got their books we sat for a while and started reading the books. First I read then they repeated one by one.

It was getting dark. The village’s narrow and unpaved road was dangerous in the dark. I asked the kids to please read the books many times. I told them to go home and read it for younger ones and the ones who cannot read, then I said goodbye. I left the village and am so happy. I imagine the kids tonight reading books for the others. Maybe right now the old man’s grandchildren read a storybook one by one for their grandfather loudly…

Matiullah Wesa’s mobile team distributed Hoopoe books to hundreds of children in several provinces:

Kids in Afghanistan with copies of The Magic Horse

Spin Boldak – Kandahar Province

Afghan girls in a classroom with the book The Stranger's Farewell

Central Baghlan Province

Kids in a circle with the book The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah

Farah Province

Distributing Hoopoe books in Baharak District Afghanistan

Baharak District – Takhar Province

Boys in Keshem District Afghanistan with copies of the book The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water

Keshem District – Badakhshan Province

Afghan girls in a classroom with the book The Farmer's Wife

Girishk District Helmand Province

passing out copies of The Silly Chicken to Afghan kids in the classroom

Wardak Province

Thanks to our donors, in April we were able to give the team 1,000 more copies of each of our 12 titles in Dari-Pashto editions to help them reach even more children.



Thanks to our donors and volunteers, and to our amazing team in Kabul, who keep on going day in and day out, in spite of security threats and discomfort, this year we have successfully distributed another 138,153 Dari-Pashto and 4,158 English only Hoopoe books.

More than half of these were to three mobile library programs run by enterprising Afghans, ensuring that thousands more children have benefitted from our books this year:

Afghan boys excited to borrow Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library
Afghan girls borrowing Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library
Afghan kids borrowing Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library

The Hadia Foundation/Moska Mobile Library received 54,000 Hoopoe books this year. In June they started distributing our books by tricycle to children in Nangarhar Province and by car in Kabul. Here is a report of their progress from their Founder and Executive Director, Mahir Momand:

“It is Moska Mobile Library’s fifth month in operation mostly in Nangarhar Province. The library distributes books to an average of 6,000 children each month, making it the biggest mobile library in Afghanistan.

“As the library travels the streets with its special tone on to signal its presence, children are increasingly getting to like it, get accustomed to it and believe that it is going to be there for them. We also have elders coming out of their houses and wanting to get books for themselves to read (these are elders with very little reading skills) and for their children and grandchildren.

“As you are aware, across Afghanistan, especially in traditional areas such as Nangarhar, when girls get to the age of puberty, they are not allowed by their families to step outside the house. I am very happy to report that there have been numerous cases where we reach those young women also. They send their younger siblings outside to the street with requests for books. They have in some cases sent thank you notes to the library for making books available to them.

“We asked the children to tell us what they think about the library and its services, they have given us marvelous feedback, for example:

‘Thank you for these books, my favorite book is Clever Boy, I also want to be a clever boy.’

Hassan Khan, Age 9 – Grade 3 of Taand primary school

‘Moska Mobile Library has given me and my friends beautiful books with beautiful stories, we have learned new stories from those books.’

Zarlakhta, Age 11, Grade 5 Salaam primary school

‘The books given to us are very educating, it helps in reading, learning new things and having fun. I read them to my younger brother and sisters.’

Ibrar Ul-haq, Age 12, Grade 5 of Al-qalam school

“Initially, almost one out of two children did not return the books we provided. The main reason being that there was little trust that the library will be coming again and giving them new books in return for the ones they have read. As the library is seen again and again, children find it easier and more exciting to return their old books and get new ones. Now the rate of collection has increased from 50% to around 80%.

“We made an initial study of 40 children over a four month period and noticed a definite improvement in their reading proficiency. Many of the children now know the stories they have read by heart and some refer to them as they talk together about their lives and actions. We will undertake a survey (baseline initially and impact later) with about 50 kids and report the results to you in six month’s time to ensure we document the impact these beautiful books are having on children.

“With your help, we would like to continue expanding our area of coverage within Nangarhar Province, increase our operations in Kabul and initiate a similar program in Herat Province.

“Hoopoe Books for children are written using Afghan Pashto and Dari dialects and that’s the very reason we love them as compared to other books that are provided by other sources which are written in non-Afghan accents/dialects such as the Iranian ones. Moreover, Hoopoe’s books are stories that are either based on Afghan culture or have very close resemblance to our culture. We would want to keep the Afghan culture and literature pure without the influence of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and that’s exactly what we get from the books provided by Hoopoe Books. Teachers have been loving the Teacher Guides we have provided them – they are very popular with schools.”

More Afghan boys excited to borrow Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library
Afghan kids in school with Hoopoe books from Moska Mobile library

Because of the success of the matching fund donations, we are able to give the Moska Mobile Library the books and Teacher Guides they need for immediate distribution in Kabul and Herat. THANK YOU

As soon as we can provide more books, HADIA volunteers will increase their operations in Kabul where, in a city of over 5 million people, there is a huge demand for children’s books. They are also hoping that we can help them expand their efforts in Nangarhar within a month or two.

Young Afghan kids with Hoopoe books in Spin Boldak

Matiullah Wesa’s amazing mobile team received 16,200 books from us this year that they distributed to children in Nimruz, Kandahar and Kapisa provinces in spite of all the security issues. The photo above is from a distribution to celebrate International Children’s Day in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar Province.

Afghan boys from the Daman district in Afghanistan with Hoopoe books
Afghan girls in the Daman district in Afghanistan with their Hoopoe books

More from Daman District, Kandahar Province

Afghan students from the Delaram district in Afghanistan with Hoopoe books
Students from the Delaram District with Hoopoe books

and from Delaram District, Nimruz Province

Kids holding Hoopoe Books from Kapisa Province Afghanistan

also fromTagab District, Kapisa Province.

Young Afghan girl holding the book The Farmer's Wife from Hoopoe Books

From the BBC Pashto Facebook page – 200 girls in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar Province are now reading Hoopoe stories by Idries Shah.

Brave young Afghans risk their lives to take books to children… “Education is the only way to end war in Afghanistan” says Matiullah Wesa.

Hoopoe Book distribution, Gelan district, Ghazni province

Gelan District, Ghazni Province

Hoopoe Book distribution Maqur district Ghasni Province

Muqur District, Ghazni Province

Hoopoe Book distribution Tarinkot district Urozgan Province

Tarinkot District, Urozgan Province

In the middle of August a young Afghan student, Matiullah Wesa, and other volunteers started to distribute Hoopoe Books to children living in some of the most dangerous provinces of Afghanistan. Matiullah is motivated by his childhood circumstances. He recalls a time when his own school was burned to the ground, leaving himself and his friends with no way to continue their studies and with no access whatsoever to reading materials. As a consequence, he says: “In 2009, I started working and helping kids by building libraries and schools, distributing books and school materials for kids and so on. It helped me cure the pain in me that I had received that day when my friends and I wept in front of our school as it was burning to the ground.”

Hoopoe Book distribution, Maywand district, Kandahar province

Maywand District, Kandahar Province

Hoopoe Book distribution, Spin Boldak district, Kandahar province

Spin Boldak District, Kandahar Province

Hoopoe Book distribution Urozgan Province

Urozgan Province

Early this summer Matiullah requested our help to provide him with as many Hoopoe Books as he and his friends can distribute. Thanks to donations, we were able to give him 3,600 Dari-Pashto and 600 English books. In just one month these brave young men have handed out hundreds of Hoopoe books to girls and boys, starting small libraries in several rural districts of Ghazni, Kandahar, and Urozgan provinces.

And the Moska Mobile Library continues to deliver books to children living in remote villages of Nangarhar Province, this time in Behsod district.

Moska Mobile providing Hoopoe Books
Moska Mobile providing Hoopoe Books
Moska Mobile providing Hoopoe Books

Both these organizations will need more books as they visit towns and villages, introducing children to the pleasure and wisdom of wonderful stories.

Girls looking at Hoopoe Books delivered by Moska Mobil Library
Young Afghan boy pleased to have a copy of The Silly Chicken from Moska Mobil Library

Hoopoe Books were being delivered by tricycle in Nangarhar Province and by car in Kabul Province by Moska Mobile Library. The tricycle library can navigate the narrow streets in the villages of Nangarhar where travel by car is impossible. Every week Moska Mobile Library distributes books to 1,000 children – slightly more than 50% of them are girls.

The Moska Mobile Library operates under the HADIA Foundation, a non-profit charity based in Afghanistan. The HADIA Foundation/Moska Mobile Library has also provided Hoopoe Teacher Guides in the schools where they have distributed Hoopoe Books. You can find out more about their wonderful work on their Facebook page.

Young Afghan students with Hoopoe books delivered thanks to Moska Mobil Library

Hoopoe Books in the hands of Afghan children thanks to Moska Mobile Library and the generosity of our supporters. For more photos you can view the Moska Mobile Library video on our YouTube channel.

Saber Hosseini’s bicycle library continues to make books available to children in remote areas of Bamyan Province. Here are some photos from his May delivery.

Saber Husseini delivering Hoopoe Books to eager children
Saber Husseini with children holding Hoopoe Books
Saber Husseini delivering Hoopoe Books to Afghan children in front of school
girls holding Hoopoe Books delivered by Saber Husseini
Hoopoe distribution in Chapa Dara in the Koh e baba mountains in Bamyan

Hoopoe distribution in Chapa Dara in the Koh e baba mountains in Bamyan.

Because Afghan children have known only war, it’s not surprising that toy guns play a large role in their games. But once Mr. Hosseini arrived, one by one the children in Chapa Dara brought out their toy guns and exchanged them for books, to the great pleasure of the children and relief of their parents. Let’s hope that Hoopoe stories inspire them to create different games to play together.

Mr. Hosseini and Governor of Bamyan province distributing books, YouTube video

Left, video of Mr. Hosseini and the Governor of Bamyan Province distributing Hoopoe Books.

You can find out more about how Mr. Hosseini was inspired to create his mobile library in this BBC interview.

Afghan Mini Mobile Children’s Circus and Hoopoe Book distribution
Afghan Mini Mobile Children’s Circus and Hoopoe Book distribution

The wonderful Afghan Mini Mobile Children’s Circus (MMCC) has been distributing Hoopoe books to children at their circus events, in their education centers, in schools and orphanages as they travel around entertaining children throughout Afghanistan.

Thanks to everyone’s help, between the Fall of last year and May of this year, we have been able to provide MMCC with 60,000 books to donate to the children they meet. Then in June we were able to provide the Afghan MMCC with another 20,000 Hoopoe Books which were distributed to young audiences in Herat Province (photos above).

We hope to be able to continue to partner with MMCC providing books for their students and audiences as they travel across the country.

Watch this video of a distribution and reading of Idries Shah’s The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water which took place at their Kabul center.

A Unique Library in Bamyan

Saber Hosseini has created a unique mobile library for children in his hometown of Bamyan in central Afghanistan. Mr. Hosseini has become well known in the area for distributing books to children from a box on the back of his bicycle. In the past, villagers have been wary of outsiders appearing on bicycles because bicycles are known to have been used for suicide attacks. Now, when children see Saber Hosseini peddling along, they happily come out to receive new books and to return those they’ve already read.

Handing out Hoopoe Books in central Afghanistan

Mr. Hosseini’s mobile library has just 200 books for children and he’s able to reach 5 villages. There are many more villages in Bamyan with no access to books; and there are volunteer men and women willing to help Mr. Hosseini reach children in other villages. Please help us send more books to Mr. Hosseini so that he can expand this program.


To help us provide more children with beautiful illustrated books of their own.


The British Council in Afghanistan Uses Hoopoe in Their Teacher Trainings

British Council pre-service teachers in training
British Council pre-service teachers in training

In the fall of last year the British Council purchased 52 copies of each of our English Hoopoe Books by Idries Shah for their pre-service teachers in teacher-training colleges in 10 provinces around Afghanistan. Their aim is to make English-language teaching in schools more communicative and effective.

Just before the holidays, Jon De Ath, the Head of Teacher Development, sent the following note and photos:

“Thought I’d send you a mail with some photos of some of the Teacher Trainers from the national Teacher Training colleges, using some of Hoopoe folk tales in a training session (and one of cascade training back in Nuristan).

They were extremely popular and all 52 of them went away with a set of 8 books to use in the 2-year diploma courses, to encourage storytelling in the English classroom. Feedback was very positive and they mentioned that they found this the most interesting and useful session of the 4 they received.”

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Children from Maqsadullah kindergarten in Mazar
a young man from an orphanage in Kabul enjoy books of their own which were kindly distributed to them by the Afghan Mobile Mini Circus for Children (MMCC)
Children from Khaliqdad school in Mazar

Children from Maqsadullah kindergarten and Khaliqdad school in Mazar, and a young man from an orphanage in Kabul enjoy books of their own which were kindly distributed to them by the Afghan Mobile Mini Circus for Children (MMCC).

In spite of the increased difficulty of getting around the country performers in the Afghan Mobile Mini Circus for Children were able to distribute 8,700 Hoopoe Dari-Pashto bilingual books to children not only in Kabul and Nangarhar, but also to Mazar and Andkhoy in the north. They are an extraordinary organization, working in spite of all the difficulties they encounter so that Afghan children have the opportunity to bring messages of joy and happiness through their wonderful performances and workshops. See YouTube for their latest video.

Our partner Dr. Farid Bazger met recently with Ms. Zamani of the Education Development department of the Ministry of Education who left a list of the large number of Kabul Government schools who now have a set of our books, and photos of some of the students who have received them (examples above).We have provided 8,800 books and Teacher Guides to the Lamia Afghan Foundation for their newest school for girls, and 6,000 Dari-Pashto Hoopoe books were also donated to the many young people confined in juvenile jails in Kabul city. These girls and boys are often the innocent victims, rather than the perpetrators, and in too many cases can never return home. Chain-link fences close them off from each other and from the world. Our hope is to bring a little light into each young person’s life by giving them each at least one book to own and share with others.Early 2015 the Aga Khan Foundation purchased 1,000 Dari-Pashto books for 100 of their school libraries.


To help us provide more children with beautiful illustrated books of their own.


Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan Celebrate International Literacy Day with Hoopoe Books

“I wanted to let you know that in Kabul, to celebrate International Literacy Day on Sept 8 we had a ‘reading corner’ among other activities at Babur’s Gardens, and had all the Hoopoe titles there. Dozens of kids came and sat and read. We collected some feedback from them below, and here are some photos. The Hoopoe books were such a hit, and the event was a lot of fun!” 

Lauryn Oates, Programs Director
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
Kids with Hoopoe books at International Literacy Day event in Afghanistan
Little girl with Hoopoe books at International Literacy Day event in Afghanistan
group of kids in a circle with Hoopoe books at International Literacy Day event in Afghanistan

Comments from some of the kids:

“I am in Grade 3 in Sultan Razia School in Kabul. I love reading but my family never buys me books. They just buy the school textbooks. Today I was part of a children’s group where we listened to a story. I would like to be a teacher when I grow up.” —Husnia, age 10.

“I work as a peddler in this garden and weigh people with a scale. I love reading but I don’t have time for reading. I have to support my family and earn money for school also. I’m in grade 3. I go to Guzargah School.  Today I read your banner at the entrance of the garden and I saw this is something about book reading, so I came here and read a story book. I want to be an educated person in the future. “ —Mujeb, age 9

“I’m in Grade 3at Habibia School. I have five brothers. My father and mother are illiterate. I love reading so when I saw the banner for your event in this garden I came to read a book. I have already read one storybook here. Thanks to CW4WAfghan for organizing this event!” —Shamsullah, age 10

“I am studying in Grade 3 at Sultan Razia high School in Kabul. I love reading but no one gives me a book because I am living in a family with low income and we cannot afford to buy a book. Today, I came with my family to the garden and when I entered the garden I saw the CW4WAfghan banner, so I came to this place to read a book. I have already read two stories from the Hoopoe Books, and enjoyed reading them. I want to become an engineer in the future.” —Shams, age 10

Books distributed by Zeyar Civil Society to children in Logar Province

In partnership with Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation (KOR), Zeyar Civil Society (ZCS) has distributed 4000 Hoopoe Books to three locations in Logar province. The books included 200 of each of 10 titles by Idries Shah in Dari-Pashto and in English, in addition to 750 Teacher Guides. A half-day teacher-training course was held in the 3 distribution locations: the Danish educational center, Logar Naween educational center and Padkhab, Takht Shah Village.

The overall literacy rate in Logar province is very low, with less than one-third of all men able to read and only 9% of women. The presence of the Taliban in the province, particularly in rural areas, exacerbates this problem.

Distributing Hoopoe Books to a training center In a mosque.

Distributing Hoopoe Books to a training center In a mosque.

Due to insecurities in the area, Hoopoe Books and teacher-guides were distributed from a training center located in the local mosque in Padkhab, Takht Shah Village.

“Most of the people in the area were against books that have pictures in it, but after setting with the Imam of the Mosque, finally they have agreed on distributing these books. We have given a bundle of books to the representatives of homes, to take it with them and give it to their daughters” said Mr. Rafiullah Stanikzai, Head of ZCS.

The majority of students travel from rural areas to study at the Danish education center which provides an inexpensive place of safety.

The head of the Danish center distributing books to students.

The head of the Danish center distributing books to students.

Logar Naween educational center is a private school located in the center of Logar’s capital, Pul-e-Alam. Most of the children who study here live in the city.

Logar Naween educational center
Radio Zeenat logo

ZCS arranged for the local radio station, Radio Zeenat, to broadcast Hoopoe stories every day in the morning and evening. Zeenat broadcasts reach almost five provinces including all of Logar. The station donated Hoopoe Books as prizes for a youth program in Logar province.

The Afghan Volunteer Women’s Association (AVWA) took 650 Dari-Pashto books to distribute to some of the girls in the school that they run in the village of Bojasar in a remote rural area of mud villages about an hour from Kabul.

schoolgirl in class with the book The Boy Without a Name in the village of Bojasar
girls with Hoopoe Books in school in the village of Bojasar
girls with Hoopoe Books in school in the village of Bojasar

We were told by Nadia Nashir, the President, that:
“The children were very happy when they received these story books. They were not familiar with such books, and are very happy that books are in 2 languages. They said that they can now read Pashto as well. They were grateful and very happy.”


since our program started in 2007!

In November 2014 thanks to everyone’s help, we were able to print and donate another 70,000 books to the Asia Foundation for the Ministry of Education’s Mobile Library Service! These libraries, each furnished with hundreds ofS books, will travel to schools in at least 10 provinces, encouraging the reading and writing skills of all students, and educating them about the importance of reading. Idries Shah’s wonderful children’s stories will help in this and inspire a love of reading, which is so important.

In the summer we created a new Dari-Pashto edition of our ten titles, incorporating feedback from Afghan teachers and parents whose children have used the books. The text of each language is now in a different color, making it much easier for beginning and early readers to identify their own language.

Children at Early Childhood Care and Development Centres and Child Friendly Spaces run by War Child UK
Children at Early Childhood Care and Development Centres and Child Friendly Spaces run by War Child UK

Children at Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Centres and Child Friendly Spaces run by War Child UK in Herat Province hold copies of their very own Hoopoe Books. According to their teacher Jamila, storytelling has become one of the most popular activities amongst children at these centers. “The children are curious and ask many questions about the pictures and the story.” For more photos and details click here.

BBC Farsi Broadcast

This broadcast was aired on 14 March 2014 This broadcast on the BBC Farsi Service makes a very favorable mention and presentation of our Books for Afghanistan program and it notes that it is raising the level of literacy in Afghan homes.

Hoopoe’s Dari-Pashto Books and Teacher Guides Included in the Darakht-e Danesh Online Library

Hoopoe’s 10 Dari-Pashto books and Teacher Guides are included in the Darakht-e Danesh (“knowledge tree”) Online Library for Afghan Educators which will be launched in Kabul on October 28.

This is the first collection of open education materials for under-resourced Afghan teachers, teacher trainers, school administrators, and other education practitioners. A major impediment to quality education in Afghanistan is the lack of local language educational resources for both teachers and students. This online library will be an enormous help for those many schools which do not have libraries and lack teaching resources, particularly in their own languages: Dari and Pashto.

2 Afghan girls

For more on this project go to: www.darakhtdanesh.org/en/about-darakht-e-danesh-library.

Photo from Afghan Zariza Books on wheels – Mobile Libraries take off in Afghanistan, 19 Feb 2014.

Photo from Afghan Zariza Books on wheels – Mobile Libraries take off in Afghanistan, 19 Feb 2014.

This year we are once again delighted to collaborate with The Asia Foundation (TAF). Many of you will remember that TAF distributed 1.2 million Hoopoe Books as part of our large 21-month project funded by the Department of State in 2011-2012. This time TAF is working with The Afghan Public Library Directorate on an exciting new project: a Mobile Library program for primary school children.

Thanks to your donations, we were able to send 10,000 books, 1,000 of each of our ten titles, in Dari-Pashto editions for the very successful launch of this program in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

The Public Library Director hands out Hoopoe Books to students in Jalalabad.
Students in Jalalabad waiting in line for their Hoopoe Books

The Public Library Director hands out Hoopoe Books to students in Jalalabad.

Each Mobile library holds over 9,000 books for students from grades 1 through 6. Hoopoe Books, because they are Afghan stories, authored by an Afghan, available in Dari-Pashto editions and all beautifully illustrated, are particularly appreciated by children, the majority of whom associate reading with having to learn lessons by rote without understanding much at all. The expressions on the faces of the young boys in the photos above certainly don’t suggest that they anticipate a fun experience! (Unfortunately, we don’t yet have pictures of their smiles as they are actually reading the books.)

The Directorate of Public Libraries hopes to expand the program and take these Mobile Libraries to ten more provinces in June 2014: We have been asked to provide another 10,000 copies of each of our Hoopoe titles to include in this effort. WITH YOUR HELP WE WILL BE ABLE TO PRINT 100,000 HOOPOE BOOKS IN TIME FOR THIS EXPANSION.

So many Afghan families have to focus on food, clothes and safety before they can begin to think about education, let alone books for their children. The program’s goals are to improve the reading and writing skills of all students and to educate them about the importance of reading. Our books will help in this and encourage a love of reading, which is so important. The Library staff will work with the school Shura, parents and administrators to raise their awareness on the importance of reading and how to create an environment in schools in which children are encouraged and motivated to read

Students with Hoopoe Books
Students with Hoopoe Books

At the beginning of this year TAF also distributed 55,500 Hoopoe Books in Dari-Pashto bilingual and in English editions to 111 schools in five provinces: Kabul, Parwan, Kapisa, Nangarhar, and Laghman.

Many thanks to our Canadian friends The Institute for Cross-Cultural Education www.iceeducation.org who have once again helped us by providing funds for books requested by Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan www.cw4wafghan.ca: 3,800 books for the Afghanistan Center At Kabul University’s Boxed Library Extension program (ABLE) www.dupreefoundation.org/able.htm and 960 books for the Afghanistan Lowalee!/Afghanistan Reads! Program,www.cw4wafghan.ca/news/afghanistan-reads-lowalee-dari-literacy-classes-underway-bagrami. Thank you everyone!

We are always privileged to be able to help those who are doing so much on the ground to help build Afghanistan’s future, and were happy to have provided books to two more NGOs —

3,200 books to War Child UK www.warchild.org.uk for their work in Herat: these will be distributed to children in 13 Early Childhood Development Centres in Injil and Karokh Districts and in Child Friendly Spaces, which are safe places where street-working children can go for free education, in Firqa, Khadistan and Kamar Kalagh Districts.

3,800 books to Kabultec Roquia Center for Women’s Rights and Education in Afghanistan www.kabultec.org whose founder Nasrine Gross was one of the first people to take Hoopoe Books to Afghanistan in 2002. Kabultec has since regularly received them for adult literacy classes, and included them in a package that is given to each participant attending seminars on democratic processes. They run these in multiple provinces for female candidates to the Parliament and Provincial Councils.


We sent 60,000 Hoopoe books to schools in Asad Abad, the capital of Kunar Province. Thanks to your support 20,000 children – 9,000 of them girls – received books. Many of these young girls risk their lives to go to school each day. Now they each have three wonderful stories to read at home to their family, friends and neighbors.

Our team in Kabul successfully delivered 85,930 Hoopoe books to 22 of the poorest schools in Kabul province – just in time for children to take their books home before schools closed for the long, harsh winter.

We hope to provide books for the remaining 30 schools once they reopen in the Spring.

Girls from Asad Abad read The Farmer’s Wife and Fatima the Spinner and the Tent by Idries Shah

Girls from Asad Abad read The Farmer’s Wife and Fatima the Spinner and the Tent by Idries Shah

Girls and boys in Kabul’s poorest schools read their copies of The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal by Idries Shah

Girls and boys in Kabul’s poorest schools read their copies of The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal by Idries Shah


The grant we were awarded from the U.S. Department of State (see 2011) – enabled us to accomplish more than we anticipated. It enabled ISHK-Hoopoe Books together with our implementing partners Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation (KOR) to:

  • Publish and distribute throughout Afghanistan 2,548,768 children’s books (an increase of 82,888 copies) in Dari-Pashto and English: 1,845,056 in Dari-Pashto and 703,712 in English.
  • Print 114,300 and distribute 111,858 accompanying Teacher Guides.
  • Produce 16,368 and distribute 9,793 audio recordings with page-turn signals for classroom use.
  • Produce and distribute 60 prepackaged radio shows of the six stories: 30 for local Dari and 30 for Pashto radio stations.
Teacher Training
Teacher Training
Teacher Training

During the project period this funding also facilitated the three-month training by an ISHK-Hoopoe Trainer of six KOR-Hoopoe Teacher Training staff enabling us to run twenty-two 5-day teacher training workshops for 389 teachers from Kabul, Mazar e Sharif, Herat, Jalalabad, Helmand, Kunar & Bamyan.

Dari Pashto version of The Man and the Fox
Dari Pashto version of Neem the Half-Boy
Dari Pashto version of The Magic Horse
Dari Pashto version of Fatima the Spinner and the Tent

We were also able to complete the Dari and Pashto translations, and pre-press preparation of four new titles, two of which are for older students (Grades 6–8) and their Teacher Guides. These will be distributed as we have the funds to do so.

Afghan kids with Hoopoe Books

Every child in primary schools in Bamyan and Zabul provinces received a set of six Hoopoe Books of their own.

Hoopoe Books and guides were distributed to children in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, thanks to our implementing partners Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation, the 33 NGOs including The Asia Foundation who distributed 1.2 million books and 36,000 Teacher Guides, and 19 PRTs and other Field Officers, all of whom ensured that the books and program fulfilled our objectives.

2 Afghan girls with their new Hoopoe Books
Hoopoe Books distributed in Afghanistan
Hoopoe Books distributed in Afghanistan

In 2012 children in all 34 provinces received Hoopoe Books.


We were awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of State to print and distribute throughout Afghanistan a total of 2,465,880 books and 114,300 Teacher Guides, plus 64,284 audio versions of the stories; a Teacher Training program for 201 teachers, and a radio program of the six stories in Dari or Pashto for local Afghan radio. For more information see Traditional Afghan Tales Return Home on The Asia Foundation blog.


Thanks to our partnership with KOR, we were able to publish four more Dari-Pashto bilingual titles, and we distributed 120,000 more books to children via NGOs and PRTs working in provinces throughout Afghanistan.


We formed a partnership with Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation in Kabul (KOR), and 35,000 copies of The Boy Without a Namein a Dari-Pashto edition were printed and distributed.


Our first Dari-Pashto bilingual edition was published. 250,000 copies of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water were distributed.


We obtained approval for our potential program from the Ministry of Education in Kabul.

Lt. Michael O'Neill

“While we enjoy care packages, it doesn’t compare to the joy of seeing a child with their first book.” Lt Michael O’Neill, with PRT Panjshir in Afghanistan who distributed our first Dari-Pashto title