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About Bamyan, Afghanistan

Red Hill Fortress

Bamyan Village

Bamyam sits at “the top of the world” along the ancient “silk road”, protected by local people where long camel caravans transported silk, spices and tea from East to West — Bombay to Istanbul — to be shipped around the known world.  Besides its height of 10,000' and Asian centrality, Bamyan is known for its mountainous beauty.  We recall 1970's “hippies” who drove VW vans camping to/from Turkey & India, hiking and photographing the Buddha statues, birds, iridescent lakes. 

March 2001

​6 months before America's 9/11.  On television we watched the Taliban tragically destroy two giant 6th century Buddhas (cultural icons) located in niches overlooking the broad Bamyan Valley.  With this horrific act, the world realized the cruelty and tyranny of the Taliban regime.

During the Taliban rule, these barbaric warriors practiced ethnic cleansing on the Shiite Hazara people of Bamyan Province. Therefore, today these practical, peaceful, hardworking Bamyan citizens jealously guard their Province's borders.
​Bamyan Village, in the long valley aside the Bamyan River beneath the empty Buddha niches, has a population of about 60,000 hardworking and peaceful ethnic minority Hazara Shite people. Since 2002, many returned from refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran when the Coalition drove out the Taliban.  Khaled Hussein, in The Kite Runner, and A Thousand Splendid Suns, describes the plight of the Hazara, abused for thousands of years. They now fiercely guard the border for unwanted intruders. 

Poorest Province in Afghanistan

​Bamyan's farmers often still use medieval agriculture methods — growing and selling potatoes (“white gold”) to adjacent countries Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan.  What a farmer does not sell, his family stores over the cold winter months and sells in spring to maintain long term price stability.  Farmers set aside the poorest quality potatoes for the family.

Local Support

Local community leaders assist Baba: the Mayor donated land in Bamyan New Town; the Deputy Governor sits on the board and his son is a 2nd grader; the Director of Education provides books, other supplies, and selects children from needy families to give scholarships to attend Baba.  Former Governor Dr. Habiba Sarabi, Afghanistan's first female provincial governor (right) provided inspiration, especially for Bamyan's women and girls, as a compassionate and fair provincial leader for seven years.

Opportunity

On March 22, 2015, Persian New Year - Nawruz, Baba School opened in its new location! ​Baba Private School provides quality K-12 education to girls and boys, so they can attend nearby Bamyan University (only college in Central Afghanistan) - or any other Afghan or international  higher educational school.
Artwork by 3rd Grate Student Fatima
Two future Baba School students.