Despite dangers, enrollment is up at Zohra, Afghanistan’s youth orchestra

Posted on: September 28, 2018

“The consequences of Afghanistan’s increasingly deadly war are weighing heaviest on the nation’s civilians,” reports Ayaz Gul on Saturday (9/22) at Voice of America. “But violence and social pressures have not deterred members of the country’s nascent orchestra of mostly young girls…. The ensemble, known as Zohra, was founded in 2014 as part of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) in Kabul…. Students and trainers … regularly come to the city’s only institute to rehearse and learn new lessons, says Ahmed Naser Sarmast, the director of ANIM and the founder of the orchestra…. Despite the many challenges … Sarmast said, student enrollment has consistently grown…. Around 300 students are studying not only music at the institute but other subjects…. Sarmast says that girls and boys in the orchestra come from different Afghan ethnic groups and they help each other … ‘It’s hope for the future,’ he said.” Negin Khpolwak, the orchestra’s first woman conductor, says, “When you are going in the street with your instrument to the school they are saying bad words to you and if you are giving a concert in public they are telling the bad words to you. But we are not caring about it.’ ”

Posted September 28, 2018