Celebrations at the Nowruz festival in Kabul
Celebrations at the Nowruz festival in Kabul ©

Turquoise Mountain Trust

From painting restoration to protecting minority languages, there have been four projects in relation to Afghanistan with three 10-month projects currently running until 2021.

Find out more about the projects:

Afghan National Gallery Painting Restoration

£411,390 awarded to the Foundation for Culture & Civil Society to carry out a needs assessment on 150 paintings within the Afghan National Collection that were destroyed by the Taliban. This project is delivered in partnership with Sayed & Nadia Consultancy Inc and the Afghan National Gallery (ANG). This project was awarded a grant extension in our closing round, to enable some of the most damaged paintings in the collection to be restored or stabilised and to provide training in basic conservation techniques, object handling and collections management skills for local staff. 

So far the project has successfully accessed the 150 paintings within the ANC and restored 31 of these. In addition to this, ANG staff have received training in collections management and the care, restoration and conservation of paintings.

10-month project for 2020-21 | Heritage Unveiled: National Art Restoration Project

Following the Impact round, the Foundation for Culture & Civil Society have been awarded an additional £502,015 to restore an additional 25 - 30 works and expand conservation training to a wider cohort of museum and gallery professionals.

Preservation of Endangered Languages in Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province

£100,000 awarded to Aga Khan Foundation to preserve endangered Pamiri languages in Afghanistan through the collection of linguistic data, which will be used to develop a multilingual dictionary for the most at-risk languages. This project is delivered in partnership with the University of Central Asia, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan, and Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association (PECTA).

Now complete, this project successfully engaged 40 volunteers who together collected a total of 5,700 words and phrases from four endangered Pamiri languages (Ishkashimi, Rushani, Sangliechi and Wakhi). These formed the basis of a dictionary translated into Dari and 12 videos illustrating the use of these languages were also produced. The dictionary and videos were made available on a new website and mobile app. Alongside this activity, one young Afghan Pamiri musician was given the opportunity to play to thousands of tourists at the ‘Roof of the World’ festival in Khorog, Tajikistan.

As well as seven short films highlighting Badakhshan cultural heritage, a series of PECTA-run masterclasses were provided to 150 individuals (of which 53% were women) to showcase the area’s potential for tourism. As a result, the organisation is currently looking into Afghan-Tajik cross-border tourism opportunities using female guides.

Preserving Afghan Heritage

£2,796,999 awarded to Turquoise Mountain Trust to protect heritage and intangible craft skills in Kabul's Old City Murad Khani. This project is delivered in partnership with Turquoise Mountain Foundation and Turquoise Mountain Institute. A grant extension was awarded to this project in our closing round to allow increased activities across all three CPF outcomes.

The project has restored much of the Old City of Kabul in Afghanistan, including five historic buildings and 20 bazaar shops. It has trained 651 builders and 857 industry professionals (including government officials) on traditional Afghan buildings and also provided training for 893 artisans in traditional crafts and design.

A Design Centre was created which helped artisans generate over £900k in independent sales in addition to £2m in international sales of Afghan crafts, leveraging expertise from UK design schools and partnerships.

10-month project for 2020-21 | Preserving Afghan heritage and putting it to work: a cultural hub creating income and pride

Turquoise Mountain Trust have been awarded an additional £374,666 following the Impact round of funding. This will enable them to take their successful model of heritage safeguarding in Kabul and deliver a similar programme in the province of Bamiyan, home to some internationally significant cultural heritage, including the restoration of a 19th-century caravanserai.

Protecting minority languages in Afghanistan

£65,381 awarded to SIL International to preserve and protect minority languages in Afghanistan through the documentation of folktales, rites of passage, music, and traditional beliefs. This project is delivered in partnership with Greenlight Development Consultants (GDC) and Procomm.

This project, completed in November 2019, exceeded its expectations in the number of books produced and distributed. To date, 1,350 books detailing Nuristani folklore, music and beliefs, have been made, 600 in English and 750 in a Nuristani/Dari diglot for local people. In addition, nearly five hours of stories were recorded from traditional storytellers. Traditional music, dance and artefacts were showcased at a Nuristani Cultural Event and recordings of 46 musical tracks have been distributed to local districts in Nuristan on 700 SD cards and are available online. 

Ninety young people attended Nuristani language heritage courses and the majority can now read their own language, with 30 fully literate. Additional tuition for 150 children in Maths and English has led to 80% showing a marked improvement in their grades, leading to an increased capacity to find work, as a result of this four older students are now in employment.

10-month project for 2020-21 | Promotion of language heritage in three Afghan minority languages

Following the Impact round of funding, SIL International have been awarded a further £33,698 to expand the project to protect and preserve an additional three minority languages in Afghanistan during 2020-21.