An Afghan Nationals' Peace Corps for Afghanistan?

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 09 September 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: September 16 - A Returned Volunteer who served in Afghanistan talk about the Taliban: An Afghan Nationals' Peace Corps for Afghanistan?

By Cheryl Ray on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 2:15 pm: Edit Post

I was a volunteer in 1971-72 in Bamiyan. When the Buddhas were blown up, I decided it was time to go back to see if I could help. I began working with PARSA, an NGO whose director, Mary MacMakin was actually thrown out of Afghanistan last year. She continued programs in Kabul, operating from a base in Peshawar.
In August, I traveled to Peshawar and applied for my visa to Afghanistan. It took two weeks to obtain the visa, during which time I brushed up on my Farci and worked on programs we had going in the refugee camps there.
Finally, I was granted permission to go. I am in the process of writing up my experiences there, which were both heartening and horrifying. If there is interest here, I will post it.
One experience I do want to share with you now, as it perhaps contains the germ of a program we could all work on.
I was traveling on An ICRC plane with an Afghan man who had lived in the US from 1979 to 1992, when he went back for a visit and never left. We were talking about the extent of destruction and the lack of resources and talent to rebuild. I asked him what he thought about the idea of a peace corps comprised primarily of Afghan youth either born or naturalized in this country, who were well educated and prepared to go back and help. This could only happen if the Taliban were somehow toppled of course, but what did he think?
He gave me this very intense look and said "The Afghan youth who are living and being educated abroad are our only resource... THE ONLY NATURAL RESOURCE OF AFGHANISTAN!"
So, I know it is very early to be assuming that Afghanistan will be a place that would welcome this kind of program. But for me right now, focusing on and affirming a bright future for our beloved country beats wringing my hands and worrying.
I talked with someone at Peace Corps headquarters in DC, and they suggested that I start here in this forum. So what do you all think? Do you have any ideas to organize and move this idea forward?
I have been on some Afghan websites talking to Afghan youth about this idea. If any of you would like to see the notes from these discussions, please email me and I will forward them to you.
By the way, I got out of Afghanistan 24 hours before the attack on America. Whew! It felt like the hounds of hell were snapping at my heels all the way.
Here is my contact information:
Cheryl Ray
541-558-3961\P.O. Box 1326
Walla Walla, WA 99362

By Jamal Nasafi on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 10:46 pm: Edit Post

Dear Ms. Ray,

While a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan from 1971 to 1972 you probably taught English to some of my family members at the American Institute in Kabul.

I am a Kabul-born American-raised former Peace Corps Volunteer myself and just completed my Masters coursework in Community Economic Development! I hope to be working in Afghanistan as soon as the dust settles down over there.

Stay in touch!

Jamal Nasafi,
Peace Corps Fellow
Illinois State University

By Ellen Elliott on Friday, October 19, 2001 - 9:42 pm: Edit Post

I heard an American with experience in the region speak on TV about the challenge that lies ahead in 'rebuilding' Afghanistan, ie, its institutions, and that the UN is not in a position to assume that responsibility...that it needs to be Afghanis.

I hope that not only Afghan-American youth, but older Afghan-Americans will elect to apply their talents and skills to rebuilding institutions there (priority: public safety). A type of Peace Corps, yes. They would have a jump start on the efforts of anyone else. RPCVs who served in Afghanistan could also make an invaluable contribution. What a cost-effective investment for the US.

Let's pressure the new PC Director when s/he is finally on board. Or get it to the new Associate Director now.

By Kathleen Moore on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 11:45 am: Edit Post

What a terrific idea, not only for Afghanistan but for so many countries. I served in Ethiopia and every day, here in Minneapolis, I meet wonderful Ethiopians and Eritreans who have left their countries to live in the United States but would and could go back for a short time to help. They are the resources and they are being drained away to the States where they are not as needed nor as valued. Anything we can do to encourage and assist with such a program would be wonderful for all of us. Thanks.

By Colin Gallagher on Wednesday, November 21, 2001 - 1:00 am: Edit Post


This sounds to me like an excellent idea. Yet it also seems like it would require a vast amount of intense and unorthodox recruitment styles -- an effort which would require a great deal of domestic outreach to Afghan youth as well in preparation for the kind of international program you propose.

I am definitely open to assisting you and know of many other RPCVs also working in local governmental circles throughout California who are aching to help our nation out of this nationalistic psychosis our country has fallen into following the events of September 11.

I can't speak for the designer of this website, but I can't help but think that this website could be used as a means of coordinating efforts to recruit Afghan youth. I am excited by the possibility. I will contact you right away. Any other ideas, anyone? Peace Corps Day is coming up.. March 2002!

By Hamid Habibi on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 1:03 pm: Edit Post

I am an 18 year old Afghan-American. I will be more than happy to help you as much as I can. Please keep me updated.
My e-mail is
Thanks a lot!

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