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About US

Established in 1992, the mission of DHSA is to redefine development in Afghanistan by promoting a dynamic and capable civil society as a means to fostering local ownership for development, dignity and a peaceful and a sustainable future for all Afghans.

To achieve its mission, DHSA presently operates four activities:

  • Public Media and Communication (TKG),
  • Education
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Environmental Protection

DHSA seeks to be self sustainable and to manage projects which in turn become self sustainable for the communities we serve.

Established initially as a response to the violent civil war following the Soviet invasion, DHSA was founded largely by demobilized Afghan freedom fighters who chose to lay down their arms and turn their attention to meeting the needs of civilians caught in the cross fire of war. The former soldiers who founded DHSA continue to work at all levels of the organization from senior management to project and operational support serving as a model for those seeking solutions to demobilization challenges in Afghanistan today. Today, DHSA employs a range of professionals, from the journalists and reporters who run its media division to over 1,000 teachers who are providing accelerated learning courses to thousands of children in rural Afghanistan. It’s important to note DHSA’s commitment to providing professional opportunities for women with women playing leadership roles within the organization at all levels of management and implementation.

Throughout the 1990’s, DHSA focused primarily on drawing strength from local knowledge and traditional relationships to fill the gaps caused by a weak national government and absence of public services. The main areas of work for DHSA during this time were water sanitation and irrigation, education, food assistance to drought affected populations, and rural rehabilitation, matching local know-how with the financial and political support of international aid agencies and donors such as EC, USAID, WFP, WHO, the UN, Canada fund/Care International and Novib.

During Taliban control, DHSA added cultural development as a core activity, establishing a cultural center, Irfan, and cultural journal, Sapeda, in neighboring Peshawar, Pakistan for Afghan writers, film makers, artists and musicians in exile. One of the highlights of Irfan was the recording of music by notable Afghan classical & folklore musicians in exile. These recordings are preserved by the US Library of Congress. The center’s film production director, Siddiq Barmak, went on to write and direct the Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Language Film Osama in 2004.

The political changes brought about in 2001 by the Bonn Accords allowed DHSA to shift from a focus on humanitarian assistance to supporting the development of civil society in Afghanistan through its media, education and various community development projects today.

 
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