The Qessa Academy

The Qessa Academy – “quessa” means “stories” in Dari – is a unique school launched in Kabul, Afghanistan, in early 2013. Qessa aims at preserving and promoting traditional storytelling and at offering new opportunities to unemployed youth.

Afghanistan is a “young” country, with 68% of its population is below 25 years of age, according to data by UNDP. It is also a country with a staggering unemployment rate (40%) and a literacy level at around 30%, of the lowest globally.

Traditional Afghan culture is mostly oral, with a rich and sophisticated repertoire comprising epic poetry, folk tales and poems, among other genres. Despite being held in high regard, traditional culture and storytellers have faced many challenges in recent years, due to historical events.

This is why Qessa trains young people aged 18 to 25 – both boys and girls – to become storytellers, with new stories being written and recounted to pass on vital information for local development.

Qessa offers classes in:

  • English
  • Local development – public health, natural disasters mitigation, human rights in Islam
  • Storytelling – traditional storytelling, creative writing, performing arts

To complement courses, Qessa works alongside Afghan foundations and radios to offer internships to its students.

Qessa awards its students – maximum 20 per cycle – full scholarships and an intensive program of lectures and other possibilities.

Consider helping Qessa and our students today. Together, we can craft a better narrative for Afghanistan!


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