Participation, Peace building and Arts Development in Kabul
10 June 2010
In December 2009, Zac Rudge received a Community Partnerships Professional Development grant to travel to Afghanistan for two months to work with Skateistan, a Kabul based NGO.
Zac’s intention was to explore and develop his community and cultural development skills by assisting Skateistan with project development, as well as exploring unique opportunities for learning and exchange between Afghan and Australian young people. While in Kabul, Zac assisted Skateistan with curriculum development, partnership building, organisational development and communication.
Through an exploration of teaching methods, Zac worked with Skateistan to develop an arts based curriculum that focused on the empowerment and engagement of students and teachers. In a series of workshops, Zac collaborated with staff to develop their skills, as well as his own, in participatory educational processes.
Zac’s visit also facilitated the 'Sharing Perspectives' project that is currently being run in partnership between Darwin Community Arts and Skateistan. This project explores cultural exchange between young people in Kabul and Darwin and aims to break down stereotypes and assumptions between individuals, local communities, and nations.
“My visit offered me an extremely intense but extremely beneficial insight into the situation in Afghanistan. This experience broadened significantly my understanding of power and conflicts and what community and cultural development workers can do within these circumstances. I am still processing the trip but the experience has, and will continue to inform and enrich my community and cultural development practice within and outside of Australia. Working with Skateistan, in the midst of a conflict zone, was without doubt the biggest professional and personal challenge I have experienced. However, on leaving I was happy with the work that I had done; working in such a difficult context left me no option but to test to the fullest my skills and creativity as a community and cultural development worker. The experience was one of the most amazing of my life, but would I go back? I'd have to think long and hard about that”.
As part of his professional development grant, Zac Rudge kept a blog which explored his experience in Kabul.
Image credit: A young girl selling snacks near the Mausoleum of King Nadir Shah Ghazi. The area comes alive with kite flying, horse riding, and chatter on Fridays but bears many scars from the years of war the country has suffered.