Theater Production & Asylum Info Campaign

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Overview of the Project

“Theatre Production and Asylum Information Campaign”

Illegal immigration of Afghans to Europe, particularly to Germany, has been of deep concern to most European countries and the Afghan govt. over the last 5 years. Many Afghans were trapped by sheer propaganda and rumors that a better life was awaiting Afghans in Europe.     As a result a remarkable number of Afghans – in particular from Herat – took hasty decisions without knowing the consequences. They sold out all their properties and left their homeland for Europe – illegally. On the way to Europe, besides financial losses, many were injured, killed, drowned or lost members of family – tragedies that could be avoided had they stayed home.

To reduce the number of immigrants and help Afghans make informed decisions, the Organization for Sustainable Aid in Afghanistan / OSAA – facilitated by Help – proposed and received a project from the German Foreign Office: “Theatre Production and Asylum Information Campaign on Risks of Emigration and Good Reasons to Stay in Afghanistan”. Under this project, OSAA reached out to more than 20,000 young potential asylum seekers. The main tool has been the 23 live theatre-performances, carried out at 10 high schools (male and female), 3 universities (Herat Public University and two private universities) – the districts of Karokh and Zendajan, 3 returnee settlements, the border town of Islam Qala and Arg Hotel in Herat City.

In addition, OSAA produced 8 TV-spots, a 6-episode series, and a song titled “I will never go” on the risks of emigration and good reasons to stay in Afghanistan. These TV spots were broadcasted in the prime-time of 5 local TV networks. Similarly, a documentary on immigration and its consequences was produced, portraying the life stories and challenges of 4 Herati families who have been to Europe and – following sad happenings there – had returned. The documentary shows promising opportunities and perspectives for Afghans to build their country.

The last major activity was the production and distribution of leaflets and brochures to potential asylum seekers. With these we informed young people on the chance to register for vocational training courses in Herat, learn a trade and find a job in the local market, with the support of OSAA and Help. 10,000 brochures and 10,000 leaflets were distributed in the areas where theatre live performances took place. 6,000 brochures were in Dari and 4.000 in Pashto. 1,000 notebooks portraying photos and mottos to stop illegal immigration were also handed out.

OSAA is proud to state that we over-performed and could achieve more and better results than budgeted and mandated by the donor. We also assisted the Herat DoIC and its Theater-Unit technically and financially. At the end of the project, we conducted a public closing-ceremony. Representatives of the Government, NGOs and local media attended and praised the project and its broad positive impact on the people and social coherence of Herat-Province.

Overall, the project had a great impact on the people living in Herat. Almost all residents of Herat city and districts have been covered and many young people could be convinced to stay and work for their country rather than venturing on the risky path of emigration. 

In fact, more than 300 young women and men did register for vocational training course after attending a play + information event. They will start 6 months TVET in May 2017. 

Please go to OSAA YouTube channel  for teasers/TV spots and TV series related to this project.

Source: Help Media and Cultural Unit