Garden of Peace and Hope

Afghanistan

Garden of Peace and Hope

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Behind the National Gallery in Kabul stood a run-down building and a pile of garbage; an image which describes the saying, “When a nation loses its culture, it loses its heart.” Now a beautiful garden and art gallery for emerging artists and musicians, it is a place of beauty and tranquility conducive to creativity for encouraging young Afghans to develop their art in the themes of “Peace” and “Hope.”

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In war-torn, and poverty-stricken Kabul in 2005 the government requested GHNI to build a garden in a basically barren and vegetation devoid city. No one knew that just before this request came, an individual with GHNI present had a dream/vision of creating a beautiful Persian garden in Kabul. The place where this garden was eventually built is next to the National Gallery. You may remember, all art and music was strictly forbidden under the Taliban. The site that was found for the Garden had been a battlefield with severe artillery damage and burned-out buildings. It was a place without hope or beauty.

With much work and vision, a beautiful garden was created with fountains, roses, and restored buildings. Today, it is “The Garden of Peace and Hope for Kabul”, and is dedicated to the young artists and musicians of Afghanistan. Scores of young people come to paint, exhibit, and even sometimes sell their work. Hundreds of Kabul school children are brought here, as well as visiting diplomats and visitors to experience and see what can happen transforming a place of destruction and death into a place of hope and peace.

Where once there was despair and fear, now there is joy, hope, and, yes, beauty. As one minister in the government said to us, “Our needs are many, and the trauma of war and destruction has touched almost all, but without beauty there is no hope! Let us together keep the hope and beauty alive!"