Astronomy Program in Afghanistan

The Astronomical Association of Afghanistan is trying to establish Afghanistan’s first astronomy curriculum for young children set in the context of Afghan culture, Islamic astronomical heritage and modern science. Educational resources will be delivered to schools, orphanages and refugee camps in the Kabul area, and establish training and educational programs based on those materials.  Once established in Kabul, the programs will expand to the rest of Afghanistan

A great part of the project is already in place. with experienced staff volunteering the time.  Funding is being sought for the remaining resources to make this project a reality.

And you can help by donating through  Astronomers Without Borders – a US 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation.

The project has several components:

  • The Little Book of Stars is an introductory astronomy text for young Afghan children authored by Christopher A Phillips, edited and illustrated by Dr. Sai Pathmanathan, and translated into Pashto by Mujtaba Ilmi. Little Book of Stars covers astronomical topics from A-Z accompanied by cartoon illustrations. With an initial print run of 1000, Little Book of Stars will be distributed free to Pashto-speaking children in Kabul.
  • Kits containing pencils, pens, paper and astronomy education materials will be distributed.
  • A basic astronomy curriculum – in Afghan cultural context and drawing upon the rich astronomical heritage of Islam – is being developed in collaboration with the Afghanistan Astronomical Association. Activities include basic observational astronomy, solar observing, and fun classroom activities such as kinesthetic astronomy.
  • Astronomical outreach will also be conducted with children in classrooms, orphanages, and refugee camps around Kabul and in other major cities as the security situation permits.

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These programs will change the lives of Afghan children. Inspiration, education, and experiences early in life have the greatest impact on who we become. The educators involved in this project have set a goal to bring that inspiration and life-changing experience to the least advantaged of children. They complement existing formal education programs, setting children on a course for a life beyond the turmoil of conflict, and economic and social inequality.

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