268 PICS

Shooting Without Guns

Children in rural Afghanistan know what guns are – but most haven’t held a camera. I want to work with them to photograph life in the village and give the world a new view of Afghanistan. I chose a village where I've worked and know people.

From an airplane, Afghanistan’s rugged mountains look uninhabitable. And from the viewpoint of news media from across the globe, images of violence and poverty dominate.

But tucked in the folds of Afghan mountains are thousands of villages, where people work, eat, play, and pray. Where children are coming to school as never before.

Although war has dominated Afghan life for three decades, the children today have a chance to live a stable life. Communication is a fundamental tool in bringing about peace and justice.

Story-telling is a traditional way of passing on information, and images are an immediate and powerful way to tell stories. “Shooting Without Guns” takes aim at conflict by putting photography tools in the hands of children. The project would help ordinary Afghans tell their own story through their own visual perspective.

In learning to use cameras, children will learn technology and connect to the larger world. Their images can allow us to see what our families have in common with their families – and through the project's blog, Afghan children can gain a personal connection with children in other places.

Although I would be taking photographs as part of the project, my photos would chiefly be instructional materials as I teach the children to take their own photographs. Together, all our photos would become documentation of the project, and I would act as a trainer, editor and mentor.

The children have a perspective on their homes, fields and streets that an outsider can never have. I choose to work with children so that they can grow up with an alternative meaning for the word “shoot” – so that they can all become shooters who add to life rather than take it away.

Because most learning is shared within the household, the children can teach their older siblings and their parents as well.

A large portion of the project money would go to buying inexpensive digital cameras, computers, and a portable receiver for internet connection, and (since the village does not have regular electricity) a solar-power battery system to run them. I would train children and their teachers to use and maintain this equipment, so that the project would carry on after I leave.

The project is based in Mohammad Agha village in Logar province, southeast of Kabul, a strategic area both politically and militarily. I am confident that I can accomplish this project because of my experience in living and working in Afghanistan, my love for the country and its people, and my personal contacts in this particular village.

As a journalist since 1980 and overseas trainer since 1996, I have worked with Afghans and people in 17 other countries so that they can tell their own stories. I have designed, managed and carried out extended projects for non-profit organizations.

My husband and I lived in Afghanistan from November 2002 to November 2004, and worked on several national projects to train Afghan journalists. We helped build the first independent national news agency, Pajhwok Afghan News (which in 2008 won the International Press Freedom Award), and I started an organization of Afghan journalism trainers.

After leaving Afghanistan, we continued to work with Pajhwok and the trainers as they became fully Afghan organizations. We still advise and support them.

I also raise money for a girls’ school in Logar. The original school was attacked in 2003, and I covered the story with a group of journalists in training. I was very moved by the strong determination of people in the village, especially the little girls. My family assisted them as they built a new school, and since I returned to the US in 2007 I’ve had fund-raising sales and given talks about Afghanistan to help them.

“Shooting Without Guns” would, I hope, be a pilot project that could be replicated in other parts of Afghanistan and other countries as well. I would design and implement it with the idea of creating a model that others could use, complete with teaching materials and examples from this village.

Rank: 58



Lisa, you sound like one of the best qualified in this whole contest to fulfill your awesome dream. I absolutely applaud your mission. I was impacted by the work of Greg Mortensen in starting schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Your mission is similar and I am happy to vote for it!


Don't forget to vote for yourself, too. It is late in the contest, but you can get a lot of votes in the next week. Good luck!


This is such a worthwhile project - good luck!


You have my vote... please return the favor!


Good Luck Lisa, We are all with you.


I pray everything goes well. Good luck!!!! :)


Excellent! I wish you all the best in this endeavor :)


We need something like this so we can see what the children see. So necessary.


i like your idea. I voted for it, check out mine and vote for it or leave a comment if you like. good luck!


Nice idea. I just got back from 2 months in Afghanistan and am heading back again in April for 5 weeks in Wardak. Voted for your project. Feel free to return the favor and vote for my project to document issues in Zimbabwe.


Thanks to all for the support!


Excellent project! We need to see more of Afghanistan through the eyes of Afghans, and to create a means to connect with each other - especially with the children.


it is really wonderful, best of luck


I love it. Getting cameras into the hands of kids has been proven to open their eyes to the world around them and to encourage creativity and free thinking.

You have my vote, and I wish you the best!


Lisa, good luck and I pray that YOU WIN
a Camera is great way to get in touch with the world around you and to express what you feel inside!!!
Kids can have a special way of showing the world what they are all about

You have my vote


Lisa - Only you could create the magic this project will offer to the children on the other side of the world. Their world, as well as ours, will expand when these precious children get their hands on a camera! Good luck!


This is such a wonderful idea -- using the power of your compelling photos to show the world the beautiful children of Afghanistan. Your project will make a difference in their lives.

These kids are enduring so much because of the decisions adults have made.

Good luck


Thank you, fellow journalists! I'm so eager to get back there and show the beauty through new eyes...


Another great idea -- go girl! Love, kbmh


Wonderful idea, Lisa. It's so important to help people across the globe tell their own story. And what better day than in photos.


Hello Lisa,
It is really wonderful.You have my vote and support.


Hello dear Lise,
It is great,
I extend all my possible support in this regard!
I vote for the supportthe cause


It's an excellent proposal. I think we often forget that as journalists we can make a difference to people's lives.


Lisa, you are doing a wonderful job! You had earned my vote by the time you started tirelessly to work for the betterment of Afghan media. My prayers are with you and I wish you success in your forthcoming endeavors to improve Afghan lives!


Thanks so much - it means a lot to have the support of my Afghan colleagues and fellow journalists!


Great idea, Lisa. And what a great opportunity. You have my vote. But you also have inspired me to try my hand at this to see if I can generate my own idea. So I'll be asking for your vote, too! Good luck


Thanks Bob! You should definitely do it - you have some of the best ideas around!


Good luck, Lisa!


From one who knows. Shooting with a camera is always better than shooting with a gun.
Good Luck


I can't think of a better person to do this! Wish we could convince Obama
to send peacemakers with cameras instead of troops!


Lisa, I know you and I know that you would be able to carry out this idea to what it could be. As someone who loves photography I couldn't agree more that seeing it through childrens eyes is a fabulous idea.


Good and needed project. The contradiction between what international main stream media tells us about Afghanistan and what we see here is enormous. Knowing Lisa's experience and determination I vote for it without hesitating. ricardo.


Lisa, I am so happy to hear from you and that will be our pleasers to you come to Afghanistan and support Afghan children's. You already know how to teach Afghan and have good experience in Afghanistan.
Danish Karokhel , Director& Editor-in-Chief of Pajhwok Afghan News


sounds like a great project and any endorsement from kbmh means a thumbs up from me. good luck. -a friend of kbmh


sounds like a great project and any endorsement from kbmh means a thumbs up from me. good luck. -a friend of kbmh


Good luck!


I am happy to be able to support you in this project. Good luck! Thanks to KBMH for the recommendation.


It is great that Lisa is copming back to Afghanistan. Hope as she did a lot aimed establishement of free media in Afghanistan, she will do great job for Afghan girls as well.


Go get 'em Lisa.


Absoloutely Brilliant - I wish you all the best.

I'm due to visit Logar to visit with a friend this summer and would love to see some of your work.

May I add details of your Assignment to my blog?


please do! would love to get the word out. Not only for this contest, but to make people aware of the other side of Afghanistan... see my web site BarakaPhotos.com. Thanks!!


GOOD LUCK. A wonderful undertaking.


Great idea. I read and cast a vote for it. Thanks for your support. If you get a chance please look at my friend Vic's idea. If you search Dalit it will take you to it.


All the Best Lisa, a very wounderful idea and of course we will all support you...


Dear Lisa, Having worked with you in Afghanistan, and ever since, to assist Afghans and Afghan media, I know you are qualified, committed and passionate about this extremely valuable and relevant project. I hope it will be chosen. Jane


Lisa, I wholeheartedly support your nomination. I hope you get it. aziz


Haven't heard of you for long time but I really admire your idea. Lisa, Good Luck! You were a nice colleague.


It's a great idea, Lisa. Good luck!


You have my vote, Lisa. That is a great idea. Good luck!


A brilliant idea. Wish you all the very best.


A wonderful uplifting concept-all the best to you


Good luck Lisa! I hope that you get to do this... you are such a good human! Hearing your stories of the world when I was a kid and seeing you make such a difference today... you are inspiring! One day I hope to make such a difference too! May your project touch many lives! - Stephanie


Great idea, Lisa. As a long-time journalist involved in international news, I can easily grasp the importance of this project. Good luck.


Dear colleagues and friends, thank you so much for these votes and comments. I am really eager to get back to Afghanistan and help them in this crucial period. Let's hope we can get many others to vote, too!


All the best!


Great idea...Good luck!


Thanks Wali and Bashir! Don't forget to blog about it, too :)


Can't think of a better cause. You have my vote and my support. Dan May


heres my vote and please vote for mine- orphanges america and africa! i have wokre din zimabawe..and am in favor of all altrusitc ideas and worldview ideas!


Thanks for the vote on my latest dream. I am trying desperately to stay in the top 20 and while I hate begging for votes, I now have no other recourse. Please click on my name and vote for all my dreams. Thanks and Good Luck.


Wishing you the best with this project. I really hope you win, as it is such a great way to work with these kids.


You have my vote and support , hope you be the owner .


I would like to extend my supports to you. You are doing a great job.
Wish you all the best!


I hope that you will reach your goals and your great idea will change into reality.


I hope that you will reach your goals and your great idea will change into reality.


Lisa is a great friend of Afghan and before I become the Governor she has supported the establishement of the Pajhwok Afghan News Agency. I well come her with her project in the Village of Wardag Province.

Let's support her!
Halim Fidai
Governor of Wardag Province


I can imagine what life is like in a tiny village-hamlet, properly-in afghanaistan..pretty much like most minute dwellings dotted about the NWFP itself. Anything that goes to help the people making up these communities has my vote.


this is a wounderful idea and should be supported, I wish you all the best Lisa and we will support you as much as we can.

Mohammad Wais Khetab


Liza, your ideas always brilliant and brave; I'll be happy to help you and support;


Dear Lisa,
The Wrok that you have done in Afghanistan are brilliant.
I believe that your experience for working in Afghanistan from 2002 -2005 and creating the first biggest Afghan News agency is really unique.
your the Best
Good idea
I'll be happy to help you and support


Best of luck, Lisa!


Thank you so much, my colleagues. I think this project will be especially important this year, during the elections... keep rallying the votes!!


I hope you are able to follow through with the exciting new project. You have such a wide interest in helping people. I am proud to say I am your cousin! hahah.... You can do it!


Earlier this year I heard NPR story of another person teaching children in poor area to use camera's. It enlivened their spirits, provided positive motivation, enjoyment, a skill, a creative outlet, productivity, building community and so much more. Good luck! DebbyBruck (at twitter)


hope your proposal makes the cut, lisa!


Lisa, this is a great idea and you are the perfect one to carry it out. I know the girls will have fun and learn a lot about themselves as well as their village and their world. I look forward to seeing their photos.


i'm sure you'll get success in this project .


Good luck Lisa, your ideas and your work are both GREAT!


It's inspirig and touching to see people that are actually taking the steps and efforts ending up paying back in away that will mark something even after you guys leave Afghanistan. I voted and absolutely support your dedication. Thank you and God bless you.


Good luck Lisa.


Lisa, You have been very diligent in helping the people in Afghanistan. Good luck with this project.


Lisa, good luck. You are doing great work in your continuing support of the women in Afghanistan.



Good luck with this fantastic project!

Larry King


Afghanistan is a country whose people are in need of learning skills that are translatable into jobs and a better way of life. This is an excellent project.


Noble cause, great idea!
Good Luck Lisa!


Thank you so much, friends and colleagues!! Keep spreading the word.... I really want to get this idea in front of the judges - if not to win, then to raise awareness.


Wonderful idea.


Interesting idea, check out mine and vote for me if you like it. Its about poverty and society in 3rd world countries and how they are controlled, devastated by their governments and western industrialized nations. http://tinyurl.com/chy79g


I support this cause.


I think this sounds like an amazing project and support it.


Lisa, this project is the culmination of ALL your work: Your LARGE concerns serving your INTIMATE concerns.
Check out Lisa's eye, read Lisa's words. Her shutter exposes the moment for it what is. And then you begin to consider her world for yourself.
Is it art or journalism? It is both.


Good Luck to you with this project.


A beautiful way to see the world as people, not just stories on the news.


A great idea! It's so important to collaborate with the wonderful Afghan people in ways other than militarily. And of course, working with the children addresses not only the present, but also the future. And you are perfect for the part. Best of luck!


A beautiful idea and action from the heart. I surely hope you are able to proceed with you dreams. You ROCK!!!


thank you! Keep spreading the word...



This project would be a great culmination of all your talents. Good luck, my friend.


Lisa, You have such wonderful vision. I'm rooting for you and know you can make a difference.Good luck. Lois


Shooting without guns! I wish more people would do it!


An excellent project. Good luck!


A wonderful idea...I wish I could go with you and help. I will. in spirit! You certainly have my vote, prayers and support! -Tanya


Interesting and worthwhile project - I voted for you - please check out an additional project that I like! http://www.nameyourdreamassignment.com/the-ideas/richs85/making-peace-with-the-world-peace-corps-at-50/


Interesting and innovative project for a good cause. All the best and hope you gather the necessary votes to get this done. J.


Interesting and innovative project for a good cause. All the best and hope you gather the necessary votes to get this done. J.


Interesting and innovative project for a good cause. All the best and hope you gather the necessary votes to get this done. J.


Very important idea - teach the children and they will change the world. Good luck with your project - B


Thanks to all for this great support... Let's hope we can make this happen!


Best wishes Lisa. It's an amazing dream.


Good luck, Lisa! It will happen, whether through this path or another.


This is an excellent example of creatively using a simple technology to overcome barriers in poorly resourced communities while also helping get the story out to others. Great idea, Lisa! Please keep me posted as it moves forward.


Best of luck, Lisa!


I have got very good experiences of working with Lisa. She was my first mentor in journalism.

Lisa, I trust you, you can do it. we are with you.



Absolutely fabulous person with a fabulous idea who is doing this to help others to help themselves. Lisa is such a force with such a great personality that she can accomplish this unique and innovative idea with much dedication and precision. I want you to do this!!


Good luck, Lisa. Prayers with you.


You are making a difference in the lives of these children. Keep up the good work. We support you in your efforts.


Dear friends, colleagues and supporters of all stripes - thank you so much for your votes, your lovely comments, and most of all your desire to give this idea to Afghanistan. We will find a way.

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