Afghanistan National Institute of Music, one of HundrED’s 2017 Innovations, has been awarded the prestigious Polar Music Prize! The Swedish international award, known as the ‘Nobel Prize of Music’ is given annually to two musicians, one contemporary and one classical. The prize was awarded to ANIM “in recognition of how this inspirational organization has used the power of music to transform young people’s lives.” This represents the first time the Swedish prize has been awarded to Afghanistan.
Music plays a part of the rich cultural heritage of Afghanistan, although its recent history was marred by the Taliban ban on listening to and practising music, including in schools. Even now, young people face barriers to musical education and there is a need for disadvantaged children, particularly girls to receive a quality education that will broaden their life opportunities.
The first of its kind in the country, the school is dedicated to preserving the rich culture of Afghanistan and demonstrates the power of music in bringing about social change through promoting gender equity, democracy and open-mindedness. Impressively, over half the students are orphans or members of the street community and almost a third are girls.
The diversity doesn’t end there, as the teaching is a fusion of cultures and languages. Taught in the two main Afghan languages, Pashto and Dari, as well as English, the music lessons comprise a combination of traditional pedagogy and local instruments, combined with western music taught by visiting educators from around the world.
Afghanistan National Institute of Music truly drums a different beat. It’s so much more than an institute of music. As the founder, Dr Ahmad Naser Sarmast says, “Our music programme is not just music education. We believe it has the power to transform lives and societies.”
Please join us in congratulating Dr Sarmast and everyone at ANIM on this wonderful achievement! Visit their innovation page to discover their incredible work.