On the first day, I was worried. These guys had such limited education and exposure, some didn’t know that Afghanistan was a country! But after the first full week of being introduced to new people, places, and ideas, they were ready to begin the vision activity.
With our Afghan GSD partners facilitating, the guys began by discussing the issues that led them to the JRC, including harsh living conditions, lack of available jobs, violence
from war, inter-tribal
tension, limitations in mobility
, isolation, lack of quality education, and extremist influences. While they all faced common struggles, each boy had a unique past—often painful and troubling to share. But surrounded by others who shared their own stories, together
they unloaded on sheets of paper, and taped them to the wall.
Once they were able to clearly see the problems, they were ready to create new visions of a better future. They acknowledged how difficult it was to imagine a better life when things were so bleak, but slowly they began visualizing schools
filled with qualified teachers, gardens and green spaces, computer labs, school buses, and English classes. They envisioned a healthy economy where everyone had jobs, roads
were paved and filled with trucks transporting products to and from town, stores were filled with merchandise, and state of the art hospitals and clinics
treated patients in every village.
Instead of skies filled with helicopters
and signs of war, they were now clear and sunny. Instead of deserted communities
, families now enjoyed picnicking in parks while children played freely. Instead of soldiers
, the only foreigners in Afghanistan were tourists coming to see Afghanistan’s beautiful landscapes
, ski on snow covered mountains
, and buy beautiful rugs