Remembering Drucilla Cortell Gensler: Kabul Commons Project Update
Progress report on The Initiative’s tree planting in Kabul received at Board of Directors meeting in Rhode Island
NARRAGANSETT, RI - JULY 19, 2018 - The Initiative To Educate Afghan Women welcomed Dr. Mariam Raqib to the July meeting of its Board of Directors and Advisory Board hosted by Board Chair Priscilla Wong.
Dr. Raqib, Founder and Executive Director of Samsortya Afghanistan, a small, grassroots organization dedicated to the greening of Afghanistan, was present to update The Initiative on development of the Kabul Commons Project, which includes the planting of 99 fruit trees – one for each alumna and student of The Initiative – in special tribute to the memory of Drue Gensler from our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Legacy Circle members and Drue’s family and circle of amazing friends.
The Kabul Commons Project will convert an abandoned courtyard in one of Kabul’s newer neighborhoods into a park for women and children of 150 large households (approximately 1,000 people) to gather safely and comfortably in a natural green space. The garden also offers residents a local source of food and fuel in a city where both are costly, and an opportunity for agricultural knowledge to be shared in a productive way. This garden will mark Samsortya's fifth project and an important addition to Kabul's growing Green movement.
Development of the Kabul Commons Project, where the 99 trees will be planted, has been moving slowly and quietly but surely. Projects of this nature in Afghanistan must account for and manage carefully the availability of local skilled labor and the all too common threat of violence.
Beginning last growing season in Jalalabad, a variety of plantings were made in one of Samsortya’s eight nurseries. Part of that planting, which includes fig, orange, pear, olive trees, were destined for the Kabul Commons Project. In the meantime, Dr. Raqib secured the help of members of the local farming community to begin site preparation by removing rubble from the area as arrangements to import soil and natural fertilizer were being made. Dr. Raqib returned to Afghanistan shortly after our meeting to oversee the transfer of saplings from Jalalabad to the Kabul Commons Project site.
We look forward to sharing more updates as our Kabul garden - and Drue’s legacy of love and generosity to our students and alumnae - continue to grow!
Click here for more images and information about Afghanistan Samsortya!