Afghanistan’s new generation grows grassroots change

By Rianna Starheim

The Afghanistan’s New Generation Organization’s (ANGO) logo depicts a human form emerging with open arms from between two green leaves. So it seemed only appropriate for the community service organization to undertake a large-scale tree planting project in Ariana Village, of Herat Province in northwestern Afghanistan.
ANGO facilitates a network of Afghan youth in three provinces, with the goal of promoting social change at the grassroots level within Afghanistan. In addition to these regular community service activities, ANGO runs programs such as Sarak-e-Awal, a mentoring program for street children, Afghan Voices, which trains young Afghans in media production and The Af-Pak Dialogue, which aims to spark dialogue between youth activists of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In a recent March 2015 project, 15 ANGO volunteers planted more than 500 trees in a 10,000 square meter public park in Ariana Village. The park lies in a developing area of Ariana Village, where there are plans to build a university. The park will be used by the students in the future.
“It was the season for planting,” said Tamim Abdullah, one of the ANGO volunteers involved in the project.
The ANGO volunteers christened the park Danishjoe, or “the student” in Dari. Ariana Town gave the volunteers permission to plant as many trees as they wanted, and agreed to irrigate and maintain the planted trees. The volunteers planted pine, mulberry, apricot, almond and other varieties of tree.
“My favorite part about the project was that we were planting trees, just like ANGO’s logo,” Tamim says. “We planted a symbol of the future students here. As we planted fruit trees and will harvest this fruit in the future, if our government invests in our youth generation, we will see the results. This project was a symbol for the growth of Afghanistan’s new generation in the future.”